Fathi Arafat

BMJ 2004; 330 doi: (Published 30 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;330:46

Founder of the Palestinian Red Crescent and a campaigner for medical and humanitarianaid forArabs

Fathi Arafat was the founder and president of the Palestinian Red Crescent. He was much less well known in the West than his brother Yasser, but was a redoubtable figure among the Palestinian people. Despite his protests to the contrary, from time to time he undoubtedly—and perhaps inevitably—strayed from medicine to politics. Nevertheless, even the Jerusalem Post described him as “apolitical.”

Trained in obstetrics and paediatrics, Fathi took a strong interest in the mental health of survivors of the carnage that has been wrought across the Middle East in recent years, claiming that Israeli suppression of the intifadas had caused as many emotional casualties as physical ones. “Some children refuse to get out of bed or even to go to the bathroom,” he said. “They are afraid because they've seen their mother struck by a soldier, or their older brother taken away tojail.” He was quick to add that Israelis were also suffering: “Think how their children feel when they see continuing violence. It is …

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