The story that won't die. Seems like they are trying to keep the illusion of life until they can iron out where he is going to be buried. He wanted Jerusalem, but Israel won't allow that. As a Muslim he would need to be buried within 24 hours of his death.
From CNN.com - Arafat on life support, U.S. officials say - Nov 5, 2004:
"Two U.S. administration officials have said machines were keeping Arafat alive until his family and officials from France, Israel and Egypt could reach a decision about a burial site."