RAMALLAH Ñ Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has failed
to return to full duties because of what Palestinian sources term a
debilitating stomach ailment.
Arafat continues to function only part-time as his aides have cancelled
most meetings with officials and visiting dignitaries. The sources said the
PA chairman has been unable to return to his full duties despite a clean
bill of health from a Jordanian medical team that examined him nearly two
On Wednesday, an Egyptian and Jordanian medical team arrived in Ramallah
to examine Arafat. Palestinian sources said the team included a cardiologist
and other specialists.
PA officials have denied reports that Arafat suffered a mild heart
attack in late September. They said the chairman has been suffering from
gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach. As a result, officials said,
Arafat suffers from nausea and has hardly eaten for nearly a week.
Arafat, an official said, has lost eight kilograms over the last two
weeks. The official said the PA chairman's condition has been exacerbated by
anxiety that include fears that he has been targeted for assassination by
The Jordanian team was summoned on Sept. 29 to run a series of tests on
Arafat. The officials said the chairman had been alarmed over his
deteriorating condition and suspected that he might have been poisoned.
But the Jordanian physicians, including personal physician Ashraf Kurdi,
determined that Arafat was suffering from exhaustion and ordered him to rest
for several days. On Sept. 30, Arafat resumed his normal schedule, but
within a few days was forced to cut back his meetings.
On Thursday, Arafat postponed plans to win approval by the Palestinian
Legislative Council for his new nine-member emergency Cabinet. Palestinian
sources said Arafat encountered opposition from the Fatah Central Committee
that sought to expand the Cabinet.