As the Israel/Palestine peace process headed for a total impasse in 2004 Yasser Arafat suddenly fell mysteriously ill. It was convenient timing for Israel and the US, who felt that Arafat was their biggest obstacle, but nearly fifty doctors from around the world rushed to try and save him, testing for virtually every known disease. Despite their efforts he died within weeks and ever since it’s been an unsolved case. This riveting documentary with exclusive access follows Suha Arafat’s search for the truth and finds a complex mystery unfolding.
“This is not a medical issue, it is a political one”, says Omar Dakka. Once personal physician to Yasser Arafat, he is hesitant to discuss the precise circumstances surrounding the leader’s rapid and mysterious demise. Such trepidation and a frustrating reticence are common among the extended team of medical professionals who surrounded Arafat in his last weeks of life in 2004. French doctors refuse to speak to camera. One of his Tunisian doctors begs not to be drawn into it, “The truth is not with me…don’t involve me in such difficult issues.” As the continuing controversy throws up suggestions of poison, international assassination and interference, Arafat’s doctors reluctance to speak openly begs the question; why?
The secrecy and doubt surrounding his death, is especially interesting considering the political factors at play in 2004. Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon said, “Anybody who is a threat to the Israeli people…I will remove him.” At the same time president Bush was saying, “I will call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders.” As Mohammed Rashid, former advisor to Arafat, points out, “It was clear that we were heading to a serious deadlock which could cost Arafat his life.”