Two Lions Vying to Prevail

Long locked in struggle, Sharon and Arafat both confront fights for survival that could reshape the Middle East

For someone who has pledged to die a martyr, Yasser Arafat resists intimations of mortality. A year ago, his doctors told TIME that Arafat might have stomach cancer, but the Palestinian leader refused to leave his besieged compound in Ramallah to seek treatment; if he did, Arafat feared, the Israelis might block him from returning. In recent weeks, as his health deteriorated, Arafat's official spokesmen said it was nothing serious. By early last week, Arafat couldn't keep food down; even the cornflakes he ate on Thursday morning had to be pureed. He was unable to move his legs fully and couldn't...

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