Palestinian leader seeks more information from Swiss lab before ruling on Arafat autopsy

The Associated Press reports: An aide says the Palestinian leader wants more information from a Swiss lab before deciding whether to dig up the remains of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.

Doctors at the lab say they found elevated levels of the radioactive agent polonium-210 on clothing reportedly worn by Arafat before his death in November 2004.

The lab says the findings don’t prove Arafat was poisoned. Experts are divided over whether an autopsy, sought by Arafat’s widow, could clear up a lingering mystery surrounding the cause of Arafat’s death.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he’s willing to exhume the body. However, Abbas aide Nimr Hamad said Thursday the Palestinian leader first wants to send experts to Europe to learn more from the Swiss lab and to the French military hospital where Arafat died.

Reuters reports: Tunisia has called for Arab ministers to meet to discuss the death of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat after new suspicions that he was murdered, a senior official in the Arab League said on Thursday.

The Palestinian Authority agreed on Wednesday to exhume Arafat’s body after new allegations that he was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium-210 in 2004, the same substance found to have killed a former Russian spy in London in 2006.

“The general secretariat received a request today from the Tunisian representative to convene a ministerial meeting to study the circumstances of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat,” League Deputy Secretary-General Ahmed Ben Helli told a news conference.

Ben Helli said a request had been passed to Arab member states for a meeting and to determine how they wished to deal with the issue in coordination with the Palestinians.

BBC News reports: Hamas Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad has called for a full independent scientific investigation into the death of the former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat following claims he had been poisoned.
Hamad told HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi that he believed Israel was responsible. Israel has denied any involvement in Arafat’s death. His medical records say he had a stroke resulting from a blood disorder.

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3 thoughts on “Palestinian leader seeks more information from Swiss lab before ruling on Arafat autopsy

  1. delia ruhe

    Looks like the Israeli authorities — or the Americans — got to Abu Mazen. Because if it should be proved that Arafat was poisoned with polonium, there would be no doubt that Israel is responsible, since no other possible suspect could have got their hands on the stuff.

    It’s all academic anyway. Most people already accept that Israel had him deep-sixed. The proof won’t tell them anything they didn’t already know.

  2. Paul Woodward

    If Arafat was indeed murdered by polonium poisoning, it seems reasonable to assume the Israelis were the source, but their willingness to provide the poison doesn’t explain how it was delivered. They needed accomplices close to their target. Someone needed to spike a drink or find a similar way to feed it to Arafat and no one else.

  3. dickerson3870

    RE: “If Arafat was indeed murdered by polonium poisoning, it seems reasonable to assume the Israelis were the source, but their willingness to provide the poison doesn’t explain how it was delivered.” ~ Woodward

    ONE POSSIBILITY:: “Who Killed Yasser Arafat? Now we know he was poisoned – but by whom?”, by Justin Raimondo,, 7/04/12

    [EXCERPT] Yasser Arafat died on November 11, 2004, of a mysterious ailment. His enemies spread the rumor he had AIDS: David Frum, with typical classiness, claimed he had contracted AIDS as a consequence of having sex with his bodyguards. Now, however, it has been revealed Arafat was poisoned: the cause of his death was exposure to very high levels of polonium-210, a rare radioactive substance. An investigation conducted by Al Jazeera showed Arafat’s personal items, released to the media organization by his widow, contained several times the normal level of polonium that would normally be detected on such items. The Palestinian leader’s terminal symptoms were similar to those experienced by victims of polonium poisoning: the substance targets the gastrointestinal tract and the subject wastes away.
    Arafat’s Ramallah compound had been bombed several times by the Israelis, and they had the place surrounded – yet still he persisted. They couldn’t get him out. Worse, his plight was becoming a metaphor for the condition of his people, who were – and still are – prisoners in their own land. A former adviser claimed he was poisoned by the Israelis, who detained the Palestinian ambulance used to deliver Arafat’s medications to the Ramallah compound. At the time, one tended to write this off as a purely polemical exercise: in light of the new evidence, however, the question has to be asked.
    Simply by continuing to exist in the face of such a sustained assault, Arafat was defeating the Israelis every day. They had to get rid of him. Did they? We’ll never know for sure, but it is worth noting that Israeli threats to kill him preceded his untimely death by less than a year. As is well-known, Israeli intelligence has carried out numerous assassinations: it is simply another tool in their international operations, one they have never hesitated to utilize. . .


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