13 October 2013, 14:23

Arafat poisoning claim proven – media

Ясир Арафат Ясер Арафат

A British medical journal has revealed a sensational report endorsing the claim that Yasser Arafat, the longtime Palestinian leader, was poisoned with highly radioactive polonium.

According to The Lancet, Swiss scientists conducted a radiological test that found abnormal levels of deadly Polonium-210 in Arafat’s blood, urine and saliva, which is de facto proof that the founder of the Palestinian national administration was killed by poison.

The official cause of the Nobel peace prize winner's death was allegedly a cerebral hemorrhage he suffered on November 11, 2004.

A Swiss study of Arafat’s belongings and clothes in 2012 revealed traces of Polonium-210. The Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, France, later confirmed that the Palestinian leader had been exposed to lethal amounts of the radioactive element.

A French court used these findings to open a case on Yasser Arafat’s poisoning. His body was exhumed on November 27, 2012 following a request from Arafat’s wife, Suha Arafat.

The samples were distributed between Russian, Swiss and French experts who were to check them for radioactive substances.

Yasser Arafat was the chairman the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), leader of the PLO’s political party Fatah, Palestine’s commander-in-chief and President of the Palestinian National Autonomy, a long litany of titles that identified Arafat as a leading figure in the region and globally.

Arafat was a very controversial politician who evoked both positive and negative sentiments. For some  he was a peacemaker and leader, for others, a terrorist or traitor. His personality cult began to wane after his death, but it won’t vanish any time soon, since Arafat remains a symbol of the Palestinian fight for statehood.

Contrary to popular belief, Arafat’s rivals within the PLO would have won more from his death than Israel. Many experts on the Middle East share the opinion that Israel would have hardly profited from killing the ailing Palestinian leader.

Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the Russian-based Middle East Institute, earlier told the Voice of Russia: “Arafat’s wife Suha was the first to suggest poisoning and accuse the Palestinian leadership, in particular Abu Masen [Mahmoud Abbas], of murdering him. The accusations came on the heels of his death and I think she knew what she was talking about. At the end of his life, Arafat started removing his close allies who attempted to negotiate with different sponsors, including Gulf monarchies, where Palestine would head after Arafat’s death".

"These talks proved fatal for Faisal Al-Husseini, the nephew of Jerusalem’s grand mufti. To let Arafat live meant to put your own life at stake. So, I can readily believe in his poisoning, but Israel had nothing to do with it. There was no reason for them to poison Arafat. The effort was simply not worth it. They could have eliminated him much more easily in any other way”.

The killing record of the highly toxic radioactive element Polonium-210 dates back to the death of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian immigrant and protégé of Russia’s tycoon Boris Berezovsky, who was allegedly poisoned in London in 2006.

Swiss scientists studied the traces of Polonium on Litvinenko’s belongings and compared them to the samples from Arafat’s possessions that were contaminated to an estimated lethal level by this radioactive element. A spokesman from the Lausanne institute, Darcy Christen, told the Voice of Russia: “We found Polonium-210, and it didn’t come from natural sources, but I’d like to stress that we never suggested poisoning as a possible cause. We only stated the presence of hazardous substances on Arafat’s clothes. Arafat’s widow has turned to a French court and it’s up to them whether to initiate a case”.

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