Arab doctors are to investigate the death of the former Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, re-opening a four-year-old case which is still the subject of suspicion, conspiracy theories and political accusations.

Doctors from Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian territories have been given the task of reviewing information about the former president's demise.

Arafat's death in November 2004 in a military hospital near Paris triggered immediate rumours that he had been poisoned. French doctors said the 75-year-old died from a "massive brain haemorrhage" but could not explain what had prompted it. At the time, Arafat's widow refused to allow an autopsy.

"The investigations carried out so far didn't reach the point at which they could say conclusively what happened," said Mansour Tahboub at the Yasser Arafat foundation, set up last year to preserve the former president's legacy, and which commissioned the Amman investigation. "All we know is that there is something strange about his death."

The panel had been expected to meet as early as today in the Jordanian capital, Amman, but the exact timing of the meeting remains unclear, with the head of the committee, Jordanian heart surgeon Abdullah al-Bashir saying it had been postponed.

Tahboub said the decision to re-examine the evidence was not political. "We want to give Palestinians new facts," he said.

Accusations have been routinely directed at the Israeli government which saw Arafat as an obstacle to peace, putting him under house arrest in Ramallah and allegedly talking of eliminating him. Israel has strongly denied any involvement in his death.

Other rumours suggest the Palestinian president had Aids or that his death was caused by a fatal infection.

Arafat became ill in October 2004 and was flown from his Ramallah headquarters to France. He died a few weeks later, having dedicated 40 years to the Palestinian liberation movement.

The former president is seen as a national hero and was the first to give the Palestinian cause a legitimate voice on the world stage. His photograph still adorns homes, offices and public buildings in the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank.