Arafat born in Jerusalem, records Frenchtown hall death certificate

15th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 15 (AFP) - The death certificate issued for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat by French authorities last week indicates his place of birth as Jerusalem and not Cairo, officials said Monday.

PARIS, Nov 15 (AFP) - The death certificate issued for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat by French authorities last week indicates his place of birth as Jerusalem and not Cairo, officials said Monday.

Municipal officials at Clamart, the suburb of Paris where Arafat died last Thursday, said they issued the document on the basis of a family record book itself issued by the French foreign ministry in 1996.

The issue is symbolically important because Israel considers Jerusalem as its eternal capital, while Palestinians want to make east Jerusalem, occupied by the Jewish state since 1967, the capital of their promised state.

Arafat was born Mohammed Abdel-Rawf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Hussaini, on August 4, 1929.

The official version of his life history records he was born in Jerusalem. However numerous biographers agree that he was, in fact, born in Cairo, where his father, from Gaza, owned a business.

And it was Egypt that hosted Arafat's funeral last Thursday with full military honours.

A spokesman for the Clamart mayor's office had initially said the place of birth was put down as Jerusalem based on Arafat's passport.

Later, the office said the detail had come from a family record document, known as a livret de famille, which authorities in France deliver for largely administrative purposes.

In Arafat's case, it would have been delivered because his wife Suha gave birth to their daughter at Neuilly-sur-Seine outside Paris in July 1995, and mother and daughter spend much of their time in the French capital.

The 75-year-old veteran of the Palestinian drive for statehood died after nearly two weeks of treatment in a French military hospital at Clamart.

He was airlifted there from his Ramallah, West Bank base on October 29 and had been in a coma for over a week.

French officials, citing privacy laws, still refuse to reveal the precise cause of death or the nature of his condition, leading to rumours - strongly denied by Palestinian officials - of poisoning.

"Medical secrecy continues to hold, and I have nothing further to add," a French foreign ministry spokesman said Monday.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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