Arafat’s Death: Political or Natural

Most probably, Yasser Arafat was murdered by Israel.


Yasser Arafat, the chairman of PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) died in November 2004. His post-mortem did not take place because his wife Suha Arafat did not ask for it. After eight years of his death, Al-Jazeera TV Network broadcasted a documentary based on a nine-month’ investigation of whether Arafat died a natural death or was he killed. Suha supported Al-Jazeera News Network by providing them every stuff related to Arafat for a fair investigation. Arafat’s body was exhumed on the request of Mrs. Arafat and samples were taken from his dead body that were given to Swiss, French, Palestinian, and Russian medical experts. Swiss experts bought the notion that he was killed, as the amount of polonium-210 was found more than the normal amount in the samples taken from Arafat’s remains. Palestinian experts and authorities also supported the Swiss claim that it was a murder. Whereas the Russian and the French experts opposed this idea. They argued that the time difference between Arafat’s death and his body exhumation is of eight years, which makes the results doubtful and inconclusive.

Keywords: Arafat, Suha, Israel, Swiss experts, Al-Jazeera.

Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat was a Palestinian political leader. He was chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) from 1969 to 2004 and was president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) for the last ten years of his life. He was an Arab nationalist by ideology. He was also a founding member of the Fatah Political Party, which he led from 1959 to 2004. He died a mysterious death at the age of 75, on 11th November 2004.

In 2001, Yasser Arafat was allegedly sponsoring a wave of terror attacks in Israel by Palestinian militants. Soon he was put into isolation by the Israeli authorities for an unknown period. His illness began on 12th October 2004, after four hours of eating a meal came by the Israeli forces in his isolation. He was seen by a team of Palestinian, Egyptian, Jordanian and Tunisian doctors, who were unable to cure his illness.

After 15 days of ailment, on 27th October 2004, he was flown by helicopter to Jordan and then to the Percy Military Training Hospital and in Clamart, outside Paris. He was diagnosed with a serious blood disorder, Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC), which the French doctors could never control and he died on 11th November after the remaining three days in a coma due to massive hemorrhage.

His death is not as simple as it looks after reading the above paragraphs. Ariel Sharon, a former Israeli premier, had stated in 2002 that he regretted not eliminating Arafat during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Though he had also emphasized on the idea to not harm him, but who can trust politicians.

French doctors put their best to discover the particular cause of the infection that led Arafat to DIC, but they could never find it. Many tests resulted in negative in and out of France. For instance, tests carried out by a laboratory in Tunis on cultures of blood, stool, urine and bone marrow were all negative. And post-mortem was not performed because Arafat’s widow, Suha did not ask for it.

On 3rd July 2012, an Al-Jazeera documentary was reported, which was based on a nine-month investigation on What killed Arafat?Francois Bochud, the director of the Institute of Radiation Physics, Switzerland, told Al-Jazeera that its tests had found an “unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr. Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids”. What is polonium-210? Polonium-210 is a carcinogen (a substance that promotes the formation of cancer). When inhaled, it causes lung cancer. When wallowed, causes concentration in Red Blood Cells (RBCs), before spreading to the liver, kidneys, bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract, and ovaries. This point is emphasizing to chase the answer that why the experts could not know the exact reason behind Arafat’s death.

Yasser Arafat’s widow, Suha Arafat, a poet, writer, and political activist.

In the same documentary, Arafat’s widow, Suha Arafat confirmed that she would submit a request to the Palestinian authority for exhuming Arafat’s body and analyzing his remains. She was granted permission to do so. Soon French investigators and Swiss scientists were permitted to exhume Yasser Arafat’s body so that they could test the samples. Russia also sent her experts and few samples were given to the Russian experts too.

On November 6, the same year, Al-Jazeera News Network revealed the findings of ten experts, stating that at least 18 times the normal level of polonium-210 had been found in Arafat’s rib. The report further said that new toxicological and radio toxicological investigations were performed. These reports confirmed that high levels of polonium-210 were found in the number of taken specimens, like samples taken from Arafat’s ribs, pelvis and the soil that had absorbed his bodily fluids. Francois Bochud, an expert stated in a press conference, High levels of polonium indicate a third party involvement.” “Was polonium the cause of death for certain? The answer is no, we cannot show categorically that hypothesis that the poisoning caused was this or that”, he added.

The Swiss experts’ report stated that the specimens taken from bone fragments and tissue scraped from Arafat’s body and shroud, moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210.Suha Arafat told al-Jazeera: “This is the crime of the century.” She also told the Guardian, It’s shocking. I remember how Yasser was shrinking at the hospital, how in his eyes there were a lot of questions. Death is a fate in life, it is everybody’s fate, but when it’s poison it’s terrible. We are mourning him again now.

The results varied as the case was political and the time difference between Arafat’s death and his body exhumation was around eight years, making the results more doubtful. Russian and French experts did not agree with the Swiss ones. Talking about the Palestinian committee, on November 8, the Palestinian investigative committee told a news conference in Ramallah that Israel was the “the prime, fundamental and only suspect in the case of Yasser Arafat’s assassination”. Even a Russian scientist disagrees with his country fellows, arguing, Arafat did not die of disease or old age but rather by a poisonous material.The head of the Palestinian Committee, Gen. Tawfik Terawi also argued something similar, It is not important that I say here that he was killed by polonium… But I say, with all the details available about Yasser Arafat’s death that he was killed and that Israel killed him.

Israeli authorities deny every such allegation. Israel is not involved in any way. There’s no way the Palestinians can stick this on us. It’s unreasonable and unsupported by facts. We will see yet another round of accusations, but there’s no proof”, said Yigal Palmor, a foreign ministry spokesman.

In contrast, Danny Rubinstein, a journalist, and author of a book about Arafat stated, For me, it was very clear from the beginning. Every day this was the topic — should we expel him, or kill him, or bomb the Muqata [Arafat’s HQ]. It was obvious to me that they would find a way.

To conclude, Yasser Arafat’s death is a mystery. If Suha Arafat had asked for the post-mortem of his husband, the case could be much clearer than now. Because Arafat’s ailment started just after four hours of the meal he ate, that was given to him by the Israeli authorities. He was a famous political figure among the Palestinians and a hurdle in Israel’s aims regarding Palestine. Even the Russian experts were pressurized to make a suitable report stating that it was a natural death, which makes it more mysterious. The French experts were also not willing to present their reports or to be involved in the investigation. Therefore, it can be argued that it seems that Yasser Arafat’s death was political rather than natural and probably, it was a murder, if not crime of the century, then a crime of the decade.

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