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Arafat's Assassination by Israeli Polonium Confirmed by Swiss, Russian, French Scientists

November 7, 2013


Tests on Arafat 'point to polonium'

Published yesterday (updated) 07/11/2013 12:41

Maan, (AFP/File Mohammed Abed) RAMALLAH (AFP) --

 Swiss scientists have concluded Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is likely to have died from polonium poisoning, according to a text of their findings published by Al Jazeera television Wednesday.

The results of tests on Arafat's remains "moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210," said the 108-page analysis posted on Al Jazeera's website.

"New toxicological and radio-toxicological investigations were performed, demonstrating unexpectedly high-levels of polonium-210 and lead-210 activity in many of the analysed specimens."

PLO official: Arafat 'killing' should be probed

November 7, 2013.(AFP/Mohammed Abed)


A PLO official on Thursday called for an international inquiry into "the killing" of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, a day after Swiss scientists said he probably died from polonium poisoning.

"The (test) results proved Arafat was poisoned by polonium, and this substance is owned by states, not people, meaning that the crime was committed by a state," said Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee.

"Just as a committee was formed to investigate the killing of (slain Lebanese prime minister) Rafiq Hariri, there must be a international committee to investigate the killing of president Arafat," he told AFP.

The central committee of the Fatah party, which is headed by President Mahmoud Abbas and which dominates the PLO, was to meet on Thursday at 1 p.m. to discuss the latest findings, said senior party official Amin Maqbul.

Swiss scientists, who carried out tests on Arafat's remains, concluded he probably died from polonium poisoning, according to a text of their findings published by Al-Jazeera television on Wednesday.

The results "moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210," said the 108-page analysis posted on the Qatar-based satellite broadcaster's website.

The experts who penned the report are also to give a news conference in Lausanne on Thursday at 1245 GMT to discuss the results.

Arafat died in France on November 11, 2004 at the age of 75, but doctors were unable to specify the cause of death. No autopsy was carried out at the time, in line with his widow's request.

His remains were exhumed in November 2012 and samples taken, partly to investigate whether he had been poisoned -- a suspicion that grew after the assassination of Russian ex-spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera, Arafat's widow Suha denounced the poisoning as "a political crime" and the "assassination of a great leader."

"I don't know who did it, but it's terrible," she said.

Israel's foreign ministry scoffed at the notion that Arafat had been poisoned, suggesting that the investigation was not impartial.

Abu Zuhri: Forensic test results prove that Arafat was poisoned

[ 07/11/2013 - 09:56 AM ]


Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, has said that recent lab test proved that late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat did not die of natural causes.

He said in a press release that the results proved that Arafat was assassinated using poison.

Abu Zuhri said that his movement accuses Israel of masterminding the assassination, and calls on the PA in Ramallah to immediately halt negotiations with Israel in light of the serious revelation and to conduct thorough investigation to unmask the ambiguity of the crime.

The spokesman recalled that Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal was the first one to declare that Arafat’s death was the result of Israeli poisoning and charged Israel with the crime in the first days after Arafat’s death.

The first forensic tests on samples taken from Yasser Arafat's corpse have shown unexpectedly high levels of radioactive polonium-210, suggesting the Palestinian leader could have been poisoned with the rare and lethal substance.

The Swiss scientists who tested Arafat's remains after the exhumation of his body in November 2012 discovered levels of polonium at least 18 times higher than usual in Arafat's ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his bodily fluids.


Yasser Arafat poisoned with polonium, tests show

Palestinian leader’s widow reveals results of Swiss forensic tests on her husband’s corpse

Irish Times, Wed, Nov 6, 2013, 16:33

Palestinians have blamed Israel for the death of Yasser Arafat after Swiss forensic tests confirmed that he was poisoned to death in 2004 with radioactive polonium.

Mr Arafat’s widow, Suha, after receiving the test results yesterday, said her husband was the victim of a political assassination.

“It is scientifically proved that he didn’t die a natural death and we have scientific proof that he was killed.”

Yasser Arafat had many enemies, including Palestinian and Arab rivals, but Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, yesterday pointed the finger of blame at Israel.

“President Arafat was the victim of an organised terrorist assassination perpetrated by Israel, which was looking to get rid of him.” Israeli officials have categorically denied any involvement in Mr Arafat’s death, even though Israeli forces had surrounded his Ramallah Muqata headquarters for the 2½ years before he was flown to a French hospital where he died in November, 2004, aged 75, after falling into a coma.

Foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the findings were “more soap opera than science”.

He said it was part of the ongoing battle between Mr Arafat’s widow and the Palestinian Authority. Yesterday’s findings could be politically embarrassing with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators engaged in US-sponsored peace talks aimed at clinching a peace deal next year.

Last November international experts took samples from Mr Arafat’s body in an effort to determine the cause of his death, amidst persistent rumours of foul play.

British forensic scientist Professor David Barclay said yesterday’s results merely confirmed earlier test results, and that the type of polonium could only have come from a nuclear reactor.

“What we have got is the smoking gun – the thing that caused his illness and was given to him with malice.”

Arafat signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accords with Israel and led a subsequent uprising after the failure of talks in 2000 on a comprehensive agreement.

Allegations of foul play surfaced immediately. Arafat had foes among his own people, but many Palestinians pointed the finger at Israel.

An investigation by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television news channel first reported last year that traces of polonium-210 were found on personal effects of Arafat given to his widow by the French military hospital where he died.

That led French prosecutors to open an investigation for suspected murder in August 2012 at the request of Suha Arafat. Forensic experts from Switzerland, Russia and France all took samples from his corpse for testing after the Palestinian Authority agreed to open his mausoleum.

The head of the Russian forensics institute, Vladimir Uiba, was quoted by the Interfax news agency last month as saying no trace of polonium had been found on the body specimens examined in Moscow, but his Federal Medico-Biological Agency later denied he had made any official comment on its findings.


Tests 'show Yasser Arafat was poisoned with polonium', widow says

Swiss experts hand over forensic results to Palestinians after exhuming remains of PLO leader who died in 2004, but findings not publicly revealed

Telegraph, By Robert Tait, Jerusalem

7:04PM GMT 06 Nov 2013

Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader, may well have been poisoned with radioactive polonium, Swiss scientists have concluded in findings that may solve a 10-year riddle but torpedo the latest Middle East peace process.

His remains contained unusually high levels of polonium-210, a substance experts say can usually only be obtained from governments, months of forensic tests have shown.

The conclusions are likely to reawaken allegations that the late guerrilla leader - long a totemic symbol of the Palestinian national cause, was murdered, possibly by Israel which considered him a terrorist.

Tests 'show Yasser Arafat was poisoned with polonium', widow says - Telegraph

They also threaten to deal a fatal blow to ongoing peace talks that are already tottering under a barrage of mutual recriminations. A 108-page report from the University Centre of Legal Medicine in Lausanne said 18 times the normal levels of polonium were found in samples taken from his ribs and pelvis and in soil stained with his decaying organs.

Scientists said they could assert with 83 per cent confidence that Arafat was poisoned with polonium and said their findings "moderately supports" the argument that it caused his death.

The report - following exhaustive tests by Swiss, French and Russian physicians - promises to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of the former Palestinian Authority president who died aged 75 in November 2004 after falling ill in his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

It came after the Lancet reported last month that the Swiss scientists had found polonium on Arafat's clothing after examining 38 samples of his belongings, including underwear, a shapka hat, toothbrush, a hospital cap and sportswear,

Arafat's widow, Suha, now living in Paris, said the latest report proved that her husband's death was "a real crime, a political assassination".

"This has confirmed all our doubts," she added. "It is scientifically proved that he didn't die a natural death and we have scientific proof that this man was killed." She stopped short of identifying possible culprits, saying her husband had many enemies.

David Barclay, a British forensic scientist who studied the report, called it a "smoking gun" and said he too was convinced Arafat had been murdered.

“Yasser Arafat died of polonium poisoning,” he told the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network, whose investigation last year into whether the former Palestine Liberation Organisation [PLO] leader had been murdered triggered the forensic examinations. “We found the smoking gun that caused his death. What we don’t know is who’s holding the gun at the time.

“The main problem is the timeframe,” he said. “If this was a murder that happened yesterday you’d have witnesses and cell phone records, emails, bank transfers. In a nine-year-old case that type of information will be hard to obtain.”

Scientists exhumed Arafat's remains from his tomb in Ramallah last November after Al Jazeera's report triggered a fresh clamour to re-open investigations into his death.

The report also prompted detectives in France to launch a murder investigation.

Scientists handed the result of their findings to Palestinian officials in Geneva on Tuesday.

However, there were signs that the report could trigger disagreements amongst Palestinians. Ghassan Shaka'a, mayor of the West Bank city of Nablus and a PLO executive committee member, said not all the results of tests had been revealed. The various Palestinian committees had decided to postpone their publication for several months "for political reasons", he told The Telegraph

"We want to know who poisoned him and how they did it and all the details of this crime," he said. "We want to know who implemented it and planned it. We want to try all those who were involved in it. Arafat was no ordinary president. He was a big symbol for the Palestinian people, who will not remain silent."

Palestinians have long pointed the finger at Israel for the sudden demise of their iconic leader - pointing out that he had been subject of previous Israeli assassination attempts and death threats.

srael has always denied involvement, attributing Arafat's death to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Yigal Palmor, spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry, dismissed the report as "more soap opera than science" - adding: "It is the latest episode in the soap in which Suha opposes Arafat's successors."

For the last two years of his life, Israeli forces kept Arafat and his closest acolytes under siege in the Mukatta, his presidential headquarters in Ramallah, in an effort to isolate him.

Israel blamed Arafat for orchestrating the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, that saw a wave of suicide bombings and denounced him as a "terrorist" who was unfit to be a negotiating partner.

In September 2003, after two suicide bombers had struck in a single day, Ariel Sharon, the then Israeli prime minister declared Arafat "irrelevant" and vowed to "remove" him at a time of Israel's choosing.

However, some Palestinians have said that even if Israel was behind his death, they could not have succeeded without Palestinian collaborators.

Fahmy Shabaneh, a lawyer and former deputy head of the PA intelligence service, has alleged that senior Palestinian officials were involved. "There is a political leader and a security leader behind the assassination of Yasser Arafat," he said. "That's why they don't want to reveal more details."

Arafat was reported to have fallen ill after dinner in October 2004 and initially showed symptoms of chronic gastroentoritis. Palestinian officials at first said he had been diagnosed with flu but he was later flown to the Percy military hospital near Paris in a French government plane.

He died on November 11, prompting a wave of mourning throughout the Palestinian territories. The official cause of his death was given as a massive stroke but French physicians said they could not find the cause of his illness.


Bush Must Answer Sharon

Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2004

Top Israeli officials are now playing down the threats by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to assassinate Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The backtracking was hardly enough to raise the pall on Monday over Israel's 56th anniversary of independence. Until Sharon himself retracts the threat or President Bush rejects the idea publicly and resoundingly, the U.S. ability to act as an honest broker in the Middle East will also remain dimmed.

Sharon, who became prime minister in February 2001, has hinted before that he would dispose of Arafat, now trapped by Israeli troops in his West Bank headquarters. Last Friday, Sharon announced outright that he was no longer tied to his 2002 promise to Bush that he would not evict or kill Arafat. National security advisor Condoleezza Rice responded quickly that the White House opposed killing Arafat. But Bush himself must deliver this message to Sharon.



Evidence Indicates that Ariel Sharon Ordered the Assassination of Yasser Arafat

The Assassination of Yasser Arafat had been Ordered by the Israeli Cabinet

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, March 07, 2013

Global Research 6 July 2012

In the light of recent developments concerning the death on Hugo Chavez, it is important to emphasize that the US has an explicit policy pertaining to the extrajudicial assassination of foreign leaders.

Since 2001, the order to assassinate foreign leaders emanates from the White House, following the revocation of Executive Order 12333 (!976) which prevented the CIA from ordering the assassination of foreign leaders.

According to Seymour Hersh, there was a second area of extra-legal operations,  the Joint Special Operations Command.

“It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently… They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. … Congress has no oversight of it.”

“It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on,… Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.”

In recent developments, following the endorsement of the US Congress, the US president can order the “lawful” assassination of a US citizen or a foreigner, in the US and abroad, theoretically as part of the “Global War on Terrorism”.

The covert assassination of foreign leaders is an integral part of what is euphemistically called “US foreign policy”.

Yasser Arafat was assassinated on the orders of the Israeli Cabinet. In 2003, Israel’s cabinet for political security affairs declared it “a decision to remove Arafat as an obstacle to peace.” When the decision did not mention when the assassination of Arafat would be carried out: “we will choose the right way and the right time to kill Arafat.”

The Israeli Cabinet decision was the object of a debate at the UN Security Council and a motion condemning Israel’s decision to asassinate Arafat. That decision  was officially endorsed by the US, which vetoed the UN Security Council Resolution.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, March 7, 2013

The 2004 assassination of  Yasser Arafat was part of a broader military and intelligence agenda to destroy the Palestinian Authority.  

What recent news reports fail to mention is that the extra-judicial assassination had been ordered by the Israeli cabinet in 2003. It was subsequently approved by the US which vetoed a United Nations Security Resolution condemning the 2003 Israeli Cabinet decision to “get rid of Arafat”.  ”We will choose the right way and the right time to kill Arafat.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The Invasion of Gaza: “Operation Cast Lead”, Part of a Broader Israeli Military-Intelligence Agenda, Global Research, November 2009)

The assassination of Yasser Arafat had been on the drawing board since 1996 under “Operation Fields of Thorns”. According to an October 2000 document “prepared by the security services, at the request of then Prime Minister Ehud Barak, stated that ‘Arafat, the person, is a severe threat to the security of the state [of Israel] and the damage which will result from his disappearance is less than the damage caused by his existence’”. (Tanya Reinhart, Evil Unleashed, Israel’s move to destroy the Palestinian Authority is a calculated plan, long in the making, Global Research, December 2001. Details of the document were published in Ma’ariv, July 6, 2001.).

Arafat’s assassination was ordered in 2003 by the Israeli cabinet. It was approved by the US which vetoed a United Nations Security Resolution condemning the 2003 Israeli Cabinet decision. Reacting to increased Palestinian attacks, in August 2003, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz declared “all out war” on the militants whom he vowed “marked for death.”

“In mid September, Israel’s government passed a law to get rid of Arafat. Israel’s cabinet for political security affairs declared it “a decision to remove Arafat as an obstacle to peace.” Mofaz threatened; “we will choose the right way and the right time to kill Arafat.” Palestinian Minister Saeb Erekat told CNN he thought Arafat was the next target. CNN asked Sharon spokesman Ra’anan Gissan if the vote meant expulsion of Arafat. Gissan clarified; “It doesn’t mean that. The Cabinet has today resolved to remove this obstacle. The time, the method, the ways by which this will take place will be decided separately, and the security services will monitor the situation and make the recommendation about proper action.” (See Trish Shuh, Road Map for a Decease Plan, November 9 2005)

The assassination of Arafat was part of the 2001 Dagan Plan. In all likelihood, it was carried out by Israeli Intelligence. It was intended to destroy the Palestinian Authority, foment divisions within Fatah as well as between Fatah and Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas is a Palestinian quisling. He was installed as leader of Fatah, with the approval of Israel and the US, which finance the Palestinian Authority’s paramilitary and security forces.



The Revelations of Uri Dan

Did Sharon Order the Assassination of Arafat?


Counter Punch, Jan 01, 2006.

Longtime and now recently deceased confidant to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Uri Dan, published a book in France that may have been his 2006 one titled Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait in which he accused the former prime minister of assassinating Palestinian Authority (PA) President Yasser Arafat by poisoning him. Dan claimed Sharon got approval from George Bush by phone early in 2004 to proceed with his plan after he told the US president he was no longer committed to "not" liquidating the Palestinian leader who then was under siege and practically incarcerated in what remained of his Ramallah compound, most of which had already been destroyed by the Israelis in a lawless act of retribution against him.

Based on his record during his tenure as Texas governor, when he authorized more death row inmate executions than any US governor in history (and was called by some the Texecutioner), this revelation should come as no surprise. It’s even clearer based on Ariel Sharon’s boast once about his relationship with George Bush saying: "We have the US president under our control."

Arafat died in Paris on November 11, 2004 at age 75. He was taken there on October 29 that year and hospitalized for treatment for an undiagnosed illness that began developing in April and became serious enough for him to need special care. It may have already been too late when he arrived as he slipped into a coma on November 3 and remained in that state till his death eight days later from what was explained at the time as complications from a blood disorder. Indeed it may have been true if his blood was poisoned by a substance able to work slowly and from which no cure was possible at least once the former Palestinian leader arrived in Paris.

To those knowledgeable about Israel’s history since it became a state in 1948 and earlier, this revelation, if true, should come as no surprise. All Israeli governments have a long and disturbing record of conducting targeted assassinations in Israel and abroad as it suited them against all persons thought to be a threat to the Jewish state. From his earliest days in 1969 as Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman and President, Arafat went from enemy to ally and back to enemy again under various Israeli governments depending on his willingness to deny his people their rights in service and pledging fealty to Israeli authority as he did in agreeing to the Oslo Accords, or Declaration of Principles (DOP), signed at a White House ceremony in September, 1993.

This was an agreement from hell, a disgraceful act of surrender, giving Israel what it wanted and Arafat and his cronies a "get-out-of-Tunis-free pass" (where they took refuge when forced out of Lebanon after the 1982 Israeli invasion) to return to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) where he agreed to serve as Israel’s enforcer against his own people. As it always was earlier and since that time, the Palestinians got nothing but the right to have their lands stolen and lives immiserated with the help and duplicity of their own leader and those complicit in his Fatah-led government.

They endured this fate until the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Mosque (or Second) Intifada on September 28, 2000 following Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to what Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary in occupied East Jerusalem. It’s gone on since unabated up to and following Arafat’s death and led to the democratic election of a Hamas government in January, 2006.

Fed up with the corrupted Fatah party under Arafat (now under Palestinian President and loyal Israeli servant Mahmoud Abbas), the long-suffering Palestinian people voted them out in an election the Israelis and Bush administration thought they had "arranged" properly enough to assure their preferred quisling party would remain in power but learned to their dismay it didn’t turn out that way. It also didn’t turn out as Palestinians hoped either as Israel and the US, with complicity or silence from the West, conducted a scorched earth campaign against a defenseless people through invasions, daily attacks with sophisticated and powerful weapons (supplied by Washington at US taxpayer expense), targeted assassinations and other daily killings, mass arrests and incarcerations, a systemic policy of torture, destruction of property, and denial of the most basic rights and services essential to life and survival. And that leaves out all the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) did to the Lebanese people over the summer that will take a least many years to recover from if Israel will even allow it to happen.

Throughout it all, the courageous Palestinian people continue struggling daily for their freedom and the right to be treated as human beings to live in peace in their own land – against the greatest odds with virtually no outside support or any show of caring about their desperate state even from within the Arab world.

If Ariel Sharon murdered Yasser Arafat, it should surprise no one, and further, if proved beyond dispute, it would never be reported in the US corporate-controlled media even if it made headlines in Israel which might be possible in a country allowing far more press freedom than the total lockdown of it in "the land of the free and home of the brave" where no press freedom is allowed through dominant news and information sources and only is through alternative sources like the one through which readers are now receiving this report. As we begin the new year with the 110th Congress about to convene on January 4, it’s one of many issues to reflect on and consider what we ought to be doing about it in our own behalf.

STEPHEN LENDMAN lives in Chicago and can be reached at


Lancet report supports accusation that Yasser Arafat was poisoned

WSWS, By Jean Shaoul 21 October 2013

The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals, has published a report supporting the thesis that Yasser Arafat was poisoned with polonium-210.

The president of the Palestinian Authority died in a French military hospital in November 2004 after falling ill at his headquarters in Ramallah.

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The study did not address the question of whether Arafat had been assassinated or how he had come into contact with polonium, but the presence of the radioactive isotope points irrefutably to Arafat’s murder. Given the difficulty of obtaining the isotope by anyone other than the nuclear powers and asking cui bono (who benefits?), the murder could only have been planned—if not carried out—by Israel or the United States.

The office of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the report, saying he had “nothing new to say” on the death of Arafat.

The study, Improving Forensic Investigation for Polonium Poisoning was published on October 12. It described an examination by Swiss scientists of 38 items belonging to Arafat, including his underwear and a toothbrush, and their comparison with a control group of 37 items of his that had been in storage for some time before his death. The toxicologists found traces of the substance that “support the possibility of Arafat’s poisoning with polonium-210.”

The scientists added, “Although the absence of myelosuppression [bone marrow deficiency] and hair loss does not favour acute radiation syndrome, symptoms of nausea, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhoea, and anorexia, followed by hepatic and renal failures, might suggest radioactive poisoning.”

The length of time that had elapsed since Arafat’s death made the detection of polonium, which decays relatively rapidly, more difficult. Nevertheless, “… on the basis of [the] forensic investigation, there was sufficient doubt to recommend the exhumation of his body in 2012.”

The report was written by scientists from the Institute for Radiation Physics in Lausanne and the University Centre of Legal Medicine, Lausanne-Geneva, some of whom had carried out the tests published in an Al-Jazeera broadcast last year.

The news channel’s nine-month investigation into Arafat’s death revealed that the Swiss examination of his medical records and some of his belongings provided by his widow Suha Arafat, including his toothbrush, clothes and his kaffiyeh, contained traces of polonium.

Suha Arafat first voiced her suspicions about the cause of Arafat’s illness when he was in hospital in France in 2004. Arafat had been flown to a French military hospital suffering from severe nausea and stomach pain after vomiting during a meeting. His symptoms worsened despite medical treatment, with his liver and kidneys failing. He died a few weeks later after lapsing into a coma.

Arafat’s remains lie in a mausoleum in the Mukatta in Ramallah, which is guarded by troops.

Rumours mounted that Arafat had been poisoned, particularly as the doctors were unable to identify what had led to a cerebral haemorrhage that caused his death.

Following the Al-Jazeera broadcast last year, Suha Arafat pressed the Palestinian Authority to exhume his body to enable an autopsy to establish the cause of death.

Her request embarrassed Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Washington’s choice to succeed Arafat in the elections held shortly after his death. The PA never undertook any serious investigation into Arafat’s death. Abbas was forced to accede to her request when Mufti Mohammed Hussein, the West Bank’s top Muslim cleric, said he had no objection to the autopsy.

Samples from Arafat’s corpse were sent to forensic teams in Switzerland, France and Russia in November 2012 to determine whether he was indeed murdered with polonium-210, the same substance that caused the death in London in 2006 of the former Russian KGB agent-turned-Kremlin-critic Alexander Litvinenko. The investigations by three teams of toxicologists into Arafat’s remains, the shrine and earth samples continue. It is not known when the results will be published because of legal procedures.

Responsibility for Arafat’s death has long been attributed to Israel’s Mossad secret service, which has a record of carrying out kidnappings and assassinations of Palestinian leaders and more recently Iranian nuclear scientists. In 1997 it carried out a botched attempt to poison Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Amman, Jordan by spraying a poison into his ear. Two of the agents were arrested almost immediately. The Jordanian authorities were furious and insisted that Israel provide an antidote to save Meshaal’s life.

In 2002 and 2004, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and in 2003 Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, were on record as having threatened to assassinate Arafat, and there are believed to have been numerous attempts on his life.

Just weeks before Arafat’s final illness, Sharon reiterated the threat, telling the Ma’ariv newspaper that Israel would “operate the same way” against Arafat as it had against Hamas leaders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi—both were assassinated by Israel. Sharon had repeatedly stated that he regretted not killing the Palestinian leader during the siege of Beirut in 1982.

Uri Avnery, a former Israeli legislator and peace activist, reported that just before Uri Dan, a close confidante of Sharon, died, he published a book in France. The book reports that Sharon told Dan about a conversation Sharon had with President George W. Bush. Sharon asked for permission to kill Arafat and Bush gave it to him, with the proviso that it must be done undetectably. When Dan asked Sharon whether it had been carried out, Sharon answered, “It’s better not to talk about that.”

Israel’s hatred of Arafat stemmed from his relentless support for Palestinian statehood and his refusal to suppress the militant opposition to Israel from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which would have entailed launching a civil war against his own people. His successor, Mahmoud Abbas, had no such scruples. He used the PA and its security officials, such as Mohammed Dahlan, who dealt regularly with the CIA and Israeli intelligence officials, to carry out the dictates of Israel and the US.

According to the magazine Vanity Fair, the US supplied Dahlan with arms and cash, trained his men and ordered him to carry out a military coup against Hamas, which had won the PA elections in January 2006 in the Gaza Strip. However, the elected Hamas government was forewarned and carried out a pre-emptive counter-coup, routing his forces.

The PA was later to fall out with Dahlan, expel him from Fatah and accuse him of building a private armed militia in the West Bank aimed at supplanting Abbas. A report by the PA in 2011 even accused him of involvement in Arafat’s death. Dahlan is Israel’s preferred candidate to succeed the ailing Abbas.


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