Arafat blames flu bug for health scare

Palestinian President Yasir Arafat has shrugged off concerns over his health to declare he has fully recovered from a bout of flu.

    Veteran leader's health is feeble after being under siege

    A team of Jordanian medics arrived on Monday at Arafat's crumbling Ram Allah compound in the occupied West Bank to examine him.

    Although a little pale, Arafat appeared smiling and relaxed, speaking in an assured voice.

    He thanked Jordan's King Abd Allah II for sending the team which was led by his personal physician Dr Ashraf Kurdi.

    Kurdi said Arafat was in "good health" following an examination.

    Earlier, the veteran leader was said to have fallen sick with a "heavy flu".

    Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saib Uraikat, who had visited Arafat, said the Palestinian president was "getting better and is in good health".

    A newspaper reported

     that a stream of visitors, following Israel's announcement it would "expel" Arafat from his compound and meetings over the new Palestinian cabinet, had taken their toll on the president.

    Arafat underwent brain surgery in June 1992 in Amman when
    doctors removed a blood clot that had formed after the Palestinian leader survived a plane crash in the Libyan desert.


    Arafat, who occasionally shakes slightly in public, is rumoured to suffer from Parkinson's disease, but his personal physician has said the "trembling" is caused by "nervous tension".

    Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has placed the Palestinian leader under siege since December 2001.

    Abd al-Nasir inspiration

    Charismatic Gamal Abd al-Nasir
    rallied Arab world before his death


    Arafat has called on Palestinians to follow the example of former Egyptian President Gamal Abd al-Nasir in their Intifada against Israeli occupation.

    The veteran Palestinian leader described the late champion of Egyptian nationalism as a “martyr of Palestine”, in a published article marking the 33rd anniversary of Abd al-Nasir’s death. He died on 28 September 1970.

    “The Palestinian people are upstanding in the battle they are waging today for national liberation and against Israeli occupation and settlement activity and I am telling you that the fighter Gamal Abd al-Nasir is with us in the same trench,” wrote Arafat.

    The newspaper article also coincided with the third anniversary of the current Palestinian uprising.

    The charismatic Abd al-Nasir toppled the Egyptian monarchy on 23 July 1952 and established a republican government. He spearheaded the pan-Arab nationalist movement in the region.



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