New report proves Yasser Arafat was most likely assassinated through polonium poisoning

Undated photograph of Yasser Arafat in Gaza, made available by the Palestinian Authority.  (AP Photo/Palestinian Authority)

Undated photograph of Yasser Arafat in Gaza City, made available by the Palestinian Authority. (AP Photo/Palestinian Authority)

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat was almost certainly murdered. Finally, after almost 9 years since his death, an extensive investigation initiated by Al Jazeera has shown what many have suspected for years — Arafat did not die a natural death.

Al Jazeera has obtained an 108-page report (PDF) from the University Centre of Legal Medicine (CURML) in Lausanne, Switzerland, finding 18 times the normal levels of radioactive polonium, a rare lethal poison, in the remains of Arafat’s body.

“We are revealing a real crime, a political assassination.” Those are the words of Suha Arafat, President Arafat’s widow, in an interview with Reuters earlier today.

Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Fund and the Palestine Center in Washington, told Mondoweiss, “This confirms a lot of the suspicions many of us have had for a long time and what the previous inquiry suggested. The major question now is who is responsible for essentially a murder. There needs to be a proper investigation and justice should be sought out.”

Suha Arafat, wife of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, speaks with Reuters in Doha November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad

Suha Arafat, wife of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, speaks with Reuters in Doha November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad

In July 2012, after the testing of Arafat’s final personal belongings,”his clothes, his toothbrush, even his iconic kaffiyeh”, revealed Arafat was likely poisoned, French authorities launched a murder investigation and Suha Arafat called for his body to be exhumed so that medical examiners could test samples of his remains.

Arafat was in good health until he suddenly fell ill during the Second Intifada and his untimely death less than a month later was shrouded in suspicion, mystery and rumors.

From the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) Israel’s History of Assassinating Palestinian Leaders:

At the time, many Palestinians suspected that Arafat was murdered. Over the years, he had survived numerous assassination attempts by Israel, and just six months before his death then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that an agreement he had made with US President George W. Bush promising that Israel wouldn’t kill Arafat was no longer valid, stating: “I released myself from the commitment in regard to Arafat.”

Two years prior to that statement, in an interview published in February 2002, Sharon told an Israeli journalist that he regretted not killing Arafat when he had the chance during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, stating: “I am sorry that we did not liquidate him.” In 2002, current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then in the opposition following his first term as prime minister (1996-1999), told the Likud party Central Committee: “We must completely and totally eradicate Arafat’s regime and remove him from the vicinity… This one thing must be understood: If we do not remove Arafat and his regime, the terror will return and increase. And only if we do remove them is there any chance of turning a new leaf in our relationship with the Palestinians.” When Arafat died, Netanyahu was serving as Minister of Finance in Sharon’s government.

Predictably, the Israeli government is denying participation in Arafat’s murder and has adopted a position his death was a result of old age and an unhealthy lifestyle, according to Reuters. Israel’s relentlessly obtuse and tone deaf Foreign Ministry has referenced Suha Arafat’s persistence in finding out how her husband died as a “soap opera”.

Reuters reports:

“This is more soap opera than science, it is the latest episode in the soap in which Suha opposes Arafat’s successors,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

Investigations into his demise amounted to “a highly superficial attempt to determine a cause of death.”

IMEU’s report includes a partial list of Israeli assassinations of Palestinian leaders. It’s worth reviewing.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 72 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Qualtrough says:

    Yeah, a real whodunnit.

    • well, unfortunately it’s probably worth noting there’s a possibility this included the active participation of someone from his inner circle: link to reuters.com

      She told Reuters the polonium must have been administered by someone “in his close circle” because experts had told her the poison would have been put in his coffee, tea or water.

      “I’m so angry at what happened and I feel that I’m mourning him all over again. This was an act by cowards.”

      • yrn says:

        Annie
        “well, unfortunately it’s probably worth noting ”
        Typical Annie, you can’t blame Israel, so Who cares how and who killed him.

        • you can’t blame Israel

          huh? speak for yourself. you can’t speak for me.

          and as an aside, the first sentence in that blockquite, the phrasing of it–this was not in the first version of the reuters article, as i recall. that is not something i would have forgotten. it was added in a later edit. and that kind of wording in place of a full quote from her reads like creative journalism.

        • yrn says:

          I can’t speak for you, but I am sure you would cheer and make a big party out of it if you could blame Israel.
          You are predicted.

        • yrn:

          Barclay said the type of polonium discovered in Arafat’s body must have been manufactured in a nuclear reactor.

          While many countries could have been the source, someone in Arafat’s immediate entourage must have slipped a miniscule dose of the deadly isotope probably as a powder into his drink, food, eye drops or toothpaste, he said.

          anyway one interprets this, whether a person from his inner circle was complicit or not, polonium is a very rare substance. iow, they were not acting alone. they were working with someone who had access to a nuclear reactor.

          and i don’t cheer and party over murder, regardless of the perp or victim. so you’re just flat out wrong.

        • lysias says:

          you can’t blame Israel

          Even if the polonium was put in Arafat’s food or whatever by somebody in his inner circle, that person had to get the polonium from somewhere. I heard on Democracy Now! this morning that this much polonium would have had to be produced in a reactor.

          I learn from the Wikipedia article on polonium that it is extremely difficult to extract significant quantities of naturally occurring polonium. Today it is generally produced either through neutron capture (in nuclear reactors) or proton capture (in cyclotrons).

          Hmmm, I wonder who would have had a nuclear reactor or a cyclotron.

          By the way, anybody know what isotope(s) of polonium was/were found in Arafat’s body?

          Interesting two paragraphs in that Wikipedia entry on polonium:

          According to the book The Bomb in the Basement, several deaths in Israel during 1957–1969 were caused by 210Po.[87] A leak was discovered at a Weizmann Institute laboratory in 1957. Traces of 210Po were found on the hands of professor Dror Sadeh, a physicist who researched radioactive materials. Medical tests indicated no harm, but the tests did not include bone marrow. Sadeh died from cancer. One of his students died of leukemia, and two colleagues died after a few years, both from cancer. The issue was investigated secretly, and there was never any formal admission that a connection between the leak and the deaths had existed.[88]

          Abnormally high concentrations of 210Po were detected in July 2012 in clothes and personal belongings of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died on 11 November 2004 of uncertain causes. However, the spokesman for the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, where those items were analyzed, stressed that the “clinical symptoms described in Arafat’s medical reports were not consistent with polonium-210 and that conclusions could not be drawn as to whether the Palestinian leader was poisoned or not”, and that “the only way to confirm the findings would be to exhume Arafat’s body to test it for polonium-210.”[89] On 27 November 2012 Arafat’s body was exhumed and samples were taken for separate analysis by experts from France, Switzerland and Russia.[90] On 12 October 2013, The Lancet published a peer-review of the group’s finding that high levels of the element were found in Arafat’s blood, urine, and in saliva stains on his clothes and toothbrush.[91] This is compared with the report from 15 October 2013 that the head of the Russian forensic laboratory investigating samples from the body of Arafat had found no traces of radioactive polonium.[92]

        • RoHa says:

          “I wonder who would have had a nuclear reactor or a cyclotron.”

          Isn’t there one in every back yard in Gaza?

    • I hope you are ironic. Its obvious who killed Arafat.

      • Its obvious who killed Arafat.

        yes, quite:

        SLurie: Would you like to meet him?

        Sharon: No. By any criteria, he is a war criminal, a person whose hands are heavily stained with Jewish blood–more than can be found on the hands of any person since the end of the Nazi regime. He is a person that every single government of Israel tried physically to get rid of.

        SLurie: Mossad tried to kill Arafat?

        SSharonS: I won’t go into details on who tried to kill him–but I can tell you with absolute certainty that all the governments of Israel tried to get rid of him. There was not one Israeli government that did not see it as a main objective of hers.

        link to meforum.org

  2. Marco says:

    Israel assassinated Arafat with the assistance of it’s cronies Dahlan and Abbas. And quite possibly of his widow, despite what she’s saying.

    Honestly, I get the sense the Israeli regime doesn’t mind that the story is being exposed. It’s mission accomplished as far as they’re concerned. They were able to assassinate Arafat but do it without the inflammatory impact an overt hit would have entailed.

    They were able to slowly murder a man through the subterfuge of a mysterious ailment. Moreover, they will retain a thin film of plausible deniability, even as these revelations advertise to their many enemies that they could be next.

    Whatever you might say of Arafat personally, the way that Israel destroyed the Palestinian’s leader under the pretense of natural causes, while all the time laughing at his demise, is as good a piece of evidence as any of the despicable nature of Zionism.

    • kalithea says:

      I’m not buying your theory about his wife or Abbas or the Dahlan. The material no doubt came straight out of the Negev lab and was probably delivered personally to Arafat via an Arab-looking Zionist Mossadie agent cooking up a brew in Arafat’s kitchen.

      • Marco says:

        You may be right Kalithea.

        But why aren’t they raising a furor about this? In fact, why would it even wait for these lab results for them to cry bloody murder?

        The assassination was convenient. They benefited from it. Whereas Arafat may have sold his people out, he never became a stooge.

        Abbas and company did. Cui bono? In this case, Israel and its Palestinian clients.

        • Walid says:

          “Whereas Arafat may have sold his people out, he never became a stooge. ”

          Isn’t that a contradiction?

        • Marco says:

          Walid – It’s a matter of degree.

          Throughout colonial history, puppet leaders became too independent and were deposed in coups. There are grey areas – some leaders are more compliant than others. Abbas is more of a stooge than Arafat was, which is why the latter was assassinated.

        • Walid says:

          I got your point, Marco. Bringing Abbas into the equation made it clearer. Nonetheless, you have to account for Arafat having been “master” to many including his long time, faithful and trusted aid, Abbas. Erekat is of the same school, as was Dahlan as is Marwan Barghouti. The spirit and teachings of Arafat survives in all of them. You see a difference in degrees, I see a similarity in mentalities.

        • W.Jones says:

          “But why aren’t they raising a furor about this? In fact, why would it even wait for these lab results for them to cry bloody murder? The assassination was convenient. They benefited from it.”

          Hasn’t the Pal. government ever alleged that the State killed him? An Abbas spokesman said a few years ago when the State was threatening him over going to the UN that Abbas won’t let what happened to Arafat happened to him.

  3. The headline is dubious considering the exact quote of the Swiss authorities, not carried in the article here on Mondoweiss, but available elsewhere: that the evidence “moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-­210,”. Moderately support becomes most likely assassinated. I am not sure what the language of “moderately support” means in this context. I am moderately sure that it does not mean most likely assassinated, which is a leap which Suha Arafat made, but which the Washington Post, BBC and CNN did not make. Please explain why MW resembles the conclusions of the interested party of Suha and does not resemble the reports of news organizations. Methinks, the propaganda bends the “news” here.

    • eGuard says:

      I guess writing IDF press releases is your daytime job. Or more likely for the Israeli MinForAff, since your introduce the circular “because WP, BBC, CNN did not make that (logical) step” reasoning.

      You’ll also know that the phrase “Arafat probably assassinated” will not be seen on any BBC outlet ever (they are your colleagues, after all).

    • kalithea says:

      Methinks your aim is to deceive.

    • The Swiss report said that even taking into account the eight years since Arafat’s death and the quality of specimens taken from bone fragments and tissue scraped from his body and shroud, the results “moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210″.

      it means even by moderate estimates (not radical by any estimation) the results support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning. and that means he was likely murdered. and since he was an influential political leader….it means he was most likely assassinated.

      i stand by it.

      link to telegraph.co.uk

      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.

      • lysias says:

        83% confidence is more or less the degree of confidence that corresponds to the legal level of proof of “clear and convincing evidence”. It’s not “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”, so it wouldn’t result in a conviction in a criminal case. But it’s far above the level of “preponderance of the evidence”, which is what is needed to win a civil suit.

        Discussions of legal levels of proof often say that clear and convincing evidence is about the level of proof that historians like to have for historical assertions.

    • Cliff says:

      Wondering Jew is the only one pushing the propaganda.

      The Swiss team said they are 83 % sure he was poisoned.

      The scientists said they were confident up to an 83 percent level that the late Palestinian leader was poisoned with it, a conclusion that they said “moderately supports” polonium as the cause of his death.

      They DIDN’T say they were ‘MODERATELY SURE’. They said they were 83 percent sure (‘confident’) that he was poisoned.

      I think you should get some fresh air Wondering Jew. You’re becoming a cranky passive-aggressive troll.

      • After reading the al Jazeera article I now see that Annie’s conclusion was not illogical. “Moderately supports” is strange language when you mean 83% certain, but I am not familiar with the language of pathologists. If the test was conducted with care, so that they in fact tested Arafat’s body and not something that could have been tampered with, it seems probable that he was poisoned. (I know nothing about Polonium. Maybe some of you do.) In which case, some Palestinian who was cooperating with Israel seems the most likely culprit.

        The most immediate consequence of this news is to limit Abbas’s flexibility in negotiations with Israel and since Netanyahu seems to be inflexible to begin with, Abbas will never get a chance to show his limited flexibility.

        Murdering Arafat is no worse morally than killing Rantisi or Sheikh Yassin, especially since those killings killed people standing near the targets and no one extraneous was killed by poisoning Arafat. Politically, (far different from morality) we shall see if the act has consequences now. Back then, the intifada was on a low simmer when Arafat was killed, and it would seem that killing him was not as essential as killing Rantisi or Yassin.

        • eljay says:

          >> Murdering Arafat is no worse morally than killing Rantisi or Sheikh Yassin …

          All three acts of murder are equally immoral. Fair enough.

        • talknic says:

          “Murdering Arafat is no worse morally than killing Rantisi or Sheikh Yassin, especially since those killings killed people standing near the targets and no one extraneous was killed by poisoning Arafat. “

          Murdering Netanyahu would be no worse morally then?

        • Walid says:

          Murdering Arafat is no worse morally than killing Rantisi or Sheikh Yassin, especially since those killings killed people standing near the targets and no one extraneous was killed by poisoning Arafat.”

          Are you politely saying that murdering Arafat was less evil than murdering Rantisi or the half-blind wheelchair-bound paraplegic octogenerian because innocent bystanders did not also die? Interesting observation.

        • Murdering heads of state has been made illegal by the United States (I think it was Frank Church who sponsored that law in reaction to CIA plots to kill Castro.) Killing heads of state (aside from legality) involve political calculations. Killing any human being is immoral, everything else being equal. In the cases of Arafat, Rantisi and Yassin, and Netanyahu, they are involved in fighting wars and so there are calculations as in killing Rantisi means that the new Hamas leaders will stop killing or killing Arafat means that Abbas will limit the killing or killing Netanyahu means that Lieberman will limit the killing. In the case of Netanyahu will be succeeded by Lieberman there is a note of dubiousness that killing Netanyahu would limit the military strategy of Israel. But otherwise, except for the fact that I was born on this side of the divide and not the other side: the points are the same.

        • Walid says:

          Amazing how every thing and any thing could be rationalized in the mentality of a Zionist. You have me practically convinced that all current world leaders should be killed because what would automatically follow them would be good for the world.

        • RoHa says:

          “all current world leaders should be killed”

          Probably.

          “because what would automatically follow them would be good for the world.”

          Probably not.

        • Hostage says:

          Murdering heads of state has been made illegal by the United States (I think it was Frank Church who sponsored that law in reaction to CIA plots to kill Castro.)

          True enough, but the prohibition applied to all foreign government officials, official guests, or internationally protected persons, including their family members. That prohibition would apply to the members of the de facto government of Gaza too, since the statute stipulated that “Foreign government” means the government of a foreign country, irrespective of recognition by the United States. See 18 USC § 1116 – Murder or manslaughter of foreign officials, official guests, or internationally protected persons link to law.cornell.edu

          FYI, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in the Targeted Killings case that there is a duty for the occupying power to attempt to capture, rather than kill, members of terrorists groups whenever they are not actively involved in hostilities.

          The US War Crimes statute makes the same distinction. It prohibits the murder of any civilian who is not actively engaged in hostilities. Any Palestinian civilian can be considered an internationally protected person under the terms of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions when those conditions apply. See 18 USC § 2441 – War crimes link to law.cornell.edu

        • Ecru says:

          …the Israeli Supreme Court ruled…

          But the Israeli Supreme Court knows its role is only to provide international cover and PR; the Israeli Govt and IDF aren’t supposed to actually listen to it.

        • I don’t mean to go back and forth on this, but apparently that 83% certain figure was arrived at by al Jazeera as an interpretation of the pathologists’ report, rather than as part of the pathologists’ report. Here is the pathologist refusing to endorse the 83% certain figure and sticking to the original “moderately supports” language in its stead.

          link to aljazeera.com

          One thing that I learned from the article was that the polonium that was found was the supported type of polonium, that is polonium that would come from natural sources.

          ” The polonium that we did measure is actually the supported kind of polonium, the same kind of polonium that you would find naturally. The difference is the level; we observed a much higher level than what we were expecting to see normally.”

          Thus those who attribute it to Israel (which has access to the other kind of polonium) are not being straight with us, for the type of polonium was “the same kind of polonium that you would find naturally”.

          This is what the chief pathologist said to the reporter from al Jazeera- “The number that you obtained of 83 percent is actually a simple division of this six level scale. While this is explainable and understandable, this is not the way I would like to pronounce it. I don’t want to give a figure. I prefer to say “moderately support” because we do not have enough evidence to give a figure.”

          I am not a chemist, nor a pathologist, people who use scientific terms because they demand exactitude. But we can clearly state that they found 18 to 25 times the levels of “normal” polonium in Arafat’s bones.

          Other new sources including Time Magazine, link to world.time.com

          which might be MSM to MW commentators, but is remembered as “Begin rhymes with Fagin” by the likes of me, and therefore is not necessarily given to giving the benefit of the doubt to Israel, couched its report in terms that reflected doubt and uncertainty (and their headline read “ambiguous and inconclusive”), whereas Annie Robbins saw no such need to couch her terms in anything reflecting uncertainty.

        • Cliff says:

          Wondering Jew,

          Do you believe he was poisoned or not? Do you believe it is likely or not?

          The numbers say one thing. The lead Swiss whatever says another. Why? Because it’s not science, it’s politics. I think ‘moderate’ is a fair enough statement anyways.

          But to say 83% sure – based on the data – would be too reasonable. Using the empirical data to come to a conclusion would be too reasonable.

          Instead, with consideration to the organized Jewish community’s mental hysteria (see: Organ trafficking story and in general, all news out of Israel/Palestine) – he is watering down the conclusions.

          So his statement is a political one. Not scientific.

        • libra says:

          yonah fredman: I don’t mean to go back and forth on this, but…

          yonah, the one thing we can conclude from your harping on about the 83% figure is that you suspect, with much greater than 83% certainty, that if Arafat was poisoned then Israel was responsible.

        • marc b. says:

          yes, yonah, there has been some mischaracterization of the test results, however the interview you link also contains these conclusions, coming directly from professor bochud:

          1. “we observed higher than expected levels of polonium”;
          2. “we arrived to the conclusion that it was not possible to explain what we did measure”;
          3. the 18 times greater than naturally occurring levels of polonium found in tissue samples is ‘conservative’; and, drum roll please
          4.”I would say that our conclusion pushes towards the hypothesis that Arafat was poisoned.”

          also, you’ve apparently mischaracterized the source of the polonium (as coming from “natural sources”) according to the final exchanges between the reporter and professor bochud:

          DP: Would you have found that passport if an autopsy was done right after Arafat’s death?

          FB: I don’t think it would have been possible to find it. For this we would’ve needed samples from different reactors and this information is usually quite secret. We don’t even know anything about the case of [former Russian spy Alexander] Litvinenko. So I think it would have been difficult to find that signature.

          DP: So, if Arafat was indeed poisoned, it was a job well done from the culprit’s point of view?

          FB: I think it was well done if it was poisoning. But I think we managed to find some evidence that is coherent with poisoning.

          so according to bochud, in order to trace the origin of the Arafat polonium, his team “would’ve needed samples from different reactors . . ..”

        • Hostage says:

          But the Israeli Supreme Court knows its role is only to provide international cover and PR; the Israeli Govt and IDF aren’t supposed to actually listen to it.

          No, it knows the ICRC and international law digests will cite the decision as evidence of state practice supporting the customary status of the rule prohibiting murder and the duty to attempt to make arrests, rather than simply killing suspects. Israel has ratified the Geneva Conventions, but never adopted the necessary enabling legislation to spell-out those details.

          So the Court acknowledged the existence of a binding customary rule. After Anat Kam and Uri Blau published memos which called IDF operations into question, the Attorney General reaffirmed the existence of the rules and their limitation on the authorization of the use of deadly force. link to jpost.com

          FYI, we can’t even obtain similar acknowledgments from Obama, Holder, and our own Supreme Court regarding the customary rule and its application to US policy regarding extra-judicial killing of protected civilians.

    • The headline is dubious considering the exact source”

      Much more uproar followed after the murder of Harriri of Lebanon. The uproar resulted in Syria being squeezed further, Lebanon being thrown into chaos ,strife and led to frequent UN meetings,resolution,implication of Syria and Hizbullah -Iran Without any shred of evidence. It resulted into Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon ,Palestinin camps getting ransacked and false claims of the UN tribunals from Israeli lover European investigators. passing judgements and suggesting course of action against Syria.
      Why Harriri but not Arafat ? No one made any threat to his life ( no. Government) Arafat was threatened by Sharon repeatedly . Bush 2 had to beg Sharon not to kill him. Beg. yes he begged . Attitude of the coterie that run his administration in Bush’s name had no problem with Sharon’s plan. That group composed of PNAC staff wanted Oslo dead, Syiria rolled back,peace process redefined ,land re -grabbed and Hashemite kingdom returned to a few other places !Jordan become Palestine, Iraq become Hashemite fiefdom, Israel become Ertez and all opposition to any of these items of the wet dream be eliminated- that was the marching orders to the rest of the world – that was the grand plan of a long list of Israeli political leaders and strategist and was the end game in the mind of the PNAC and its contemporary rebranded offshoots.

      Beyond every other reasons that could be offered, fact remains Arafat was murdered when he was under siege by Israel. It was its responsibility that Arafat was safe.

      • Walid says:

        “Why Harriri but not Arafat ?”

        At cross-currents with US aspirations, Hariri was running a subtle interference for Hizbullah. It was surmised after his assassination that the reshaping of the Mid-East required a third “Pearl Harbor” and that Hariri had been the spark to trigger it, and sure enough, the man’s political stature was to the point that his assassination shook the whole area and it hasn’t stopped shaking and crumbling since. Hariri’s closest friends were Chirac and the Saudi royals. At the time, there had been murmurs that the US was contemplating punitively freezing his 3 billion in US assets (one of them was Houston’s highest office tower) and the construction permit for his personal mansion in DC’s poshest area had been frozen for political reasons.

        After his assassination, things appeared to have taken a positive turn in the US for the family and the younger Hariri that took his father’s place at the head of a political party, because of his anti-Syria/Hizbullah stance became somewhat of a relatively frequent welcomed visitor to George Bush’s WH. The late Hariri had decided that after its 25-year occupation of Lebanon, the time for Syria to leave had come, which disturbed Syria to no end, which may have explained why fingers were pointed at Syria although the most likely suspect in the assassination that stood the most to gain was Israel; especially that in the hour of the assassination, there was an Israeli AWAC and an unmanned aircraft in the sky above Beirut. Hariri, with his imposing France and Saudia connections had been the invisible force keeping the dogs away from Syria’s door, so Syria that eventually exploded in a civil war 5 or 6 years after the assassination lost even more than Lebanon by his death. Hariri’s death was a big loss to the whole Middle East.

        So the answer to your question more simply, Arafat was by far not in the same league as Hariri. Arafat was a local militia warlord, Hariri was an international statesman.

    • Arafat died from AIDS .That conclusion was from the Israeli lover Friedman expressing his views in the mainstream media This is the reason ,you may not want to look for news there again whenever Israel looms large as a factor,a cause,a party or claimant,

    • If Iraq produced same result like the death of Arafat did – no casualty of Americans, Iraq becoming a pliant Palestine with Saddam’s deputy becoming US – Israeli partner and Southern Iraq ghettoed into something like Gaza , the world would have calmly come back and mentioned Israel as the instigator ,it would have resulted in same yawn and dispassionate rolling of the eyes and passive acceptance of the crime .

    • jenin says:

      having been in a relationship with a Swiss for 5 years and come to know a lot of Swiss people, I can say with confidence that it is part of the culture to downplay the significance of things. for instance, a Swiss will typically say something is “fine,” or “ok,” meaning what an American does by “excellent” or at least “very good.” I am quite aware of this fact since it can often cause conflict for obvious reasons. therefore, when the Swiss authorities say “moderately support,” a translation taking into context this cultural aspect would more properly be “strongly support.” That is corroborated by the fact that the Swiss authorities also put the percentage of likelihood Arafat was poisoned in such a manner at 83%, which I think most Americans would say is more than “moderate support”

  4. kalithea says:

    It was obvious from the rapid deterioration with organ failure that it was a classic case of polonium assassination from the beginning. And then the goons responsible took to the internet spreading lies that he contracted HIV from having homosexual relations.

    First they murder him; then they rush to besmirch him after they do the dirty deed while he’s not even in the ground yet. This is evil at work.

    Did I write “evil”? My bad; I really meant to write–Zionism. Zionists want peace– my as-s!

  5. Obsidian says:

    Maybe Arafat’s premature death was a consequence of his involvement in the death by terrorism of US Ambassador to Sudan, Cleo Noel, etal.

    • seafoid says:

      They killed him for YESHA. But they are still trying to fit jewish and democracy into a box with no palestinians that looks normal and they don’t know how to pull it off.

    • Cliff says:

      If only you Israelis (and two-faced American Jews) would face the same ‘consequences’ for your terrorism – whether it be killing Rachel Corrie or bombing the USS Liberty or the daily terror you inflict on the indigenous Palestinian population you’ve robbed of a country.

  6. seafoid says:

    The jewish disneyland project started off as a fantasy. Get them all over there and they will build a new jewish reality and nobody will be tired or grumpy on Wednesday mornings. It was necessary to kill a few people of course. And they alwsys needed one more murder. One more career intervention. Eventually murder became the point. And existential angst turned up on Wednesday mornings.

  7. Shmuel says:

    Gives new meaning to the “no partner” argument.

  8. Another murder by Israel.

  9. kayq says:

    You know I wouldn’t be too surprised if it was one of Israel’s PA cronies. Afterall Arafat was a bit too “radical” for them, and they preferred someone “moderate” like Abbas who they could easily control.

  10. Eva Smagacz says:

    The accomplice of Israelis could just as well been a victim of Israelis himself.
    Israelis extract co-operation from Palestinians as a payment for permit to access the life saving treatments. I wonder if any of men around Arafat had sick relative they really cared about. Maybe a child that became sick with puzzling symptoms few weeks/months before Arafat himself? That child/relative should be checked for plutonium poisoning. Any of men around Arafat died in a suspicious circumstances?

    And what exactly stops Israel from poisoning another leader?

  11. Shuki says:

    If suha (who has lived in the lap of luxury while her late husband’s people have suffered) had any sincere interest in exposing the true cause of his death, she would have authorized the release of his medical records long ago…

    • shuki, i think your logic is rather skewered.

      The official cause of death was a massive stroke but French doctors said at the time they were unable to determine the origin of his illness. No autopsy was carried out.

      Barclay said no one would have thought to look for polonium as a possible poison until the Litvinenko case, which occurred two years after Arafat’s death.

      link to reuters.com
      given the contents of his medical records at the time, that “doctors said at the time they were unable to determine the origin of his illness,” there’s no compelling reason for her to think the release of those records would lead to anything but more rumors and speculation. also, exhuming a body is not a pleasant thing for family members.

      why are you questioning her sincerity at this time? it seems rather crude. there’s also this:

      Since polonium loses 50 percent of its radioactivity every four months, the traces in Arafat’s corpse would have faded so far as to have become untraceable if the tests had been conducted a couple of years later, the scientist said.

      if there was any compulsion for her to keep the circumstances of his death a secret she obviously knew an extended delay in exhuming his body would have erased the evidence. it was right of her to have his personal belongings tested first and right of her to exhume his body after those results proved conclusive for signs of poisoning. i don’t see your point of smearing the widow.

  12. Shuki says:

    Respectfully, I beg to differ…

    How could withholding his medical records prevent rumors and speculation about the cause of his illness? If she were truly interested in quelling the various theories that have existed, she would have released them. To this day she hasn’t.

    Moreover, she was far from the loving wife of Arafat. They lived in different countries and she has publicly stated that she unsuccessfully tried to leave him several times. The argument that she wouldn’t have ensured the emotional trauma of an exhumation unless it was necessary doesn’t hold water. Characterize it as a smear, a talking point or “hasbara”, but most Palestinians would even (privately) agree that Suha Arafat personifies the financial corruption of the PLO under Arafat.

    Why did they wait so many years after the Litvinenko case if that is indeed what prompted the suspicion? The whole thing is dubious at best and fashioned only to fan the flames of anti-Israeli sentiment in the uneducated arab world.

    • fan the flames of anti-Israeli sentiment in the uneducated arab world.

      yada yada racist yada yada crap.

      How could withholding his medical records prevent rumors and speculation about the cause of his illness?

      i never claimed it could. i said “there’s no compelling reason for her to think the release of those records would lead to anything but more rumors and speculation.

      i understand your urge keep this conversation going so you can double down on gossip about their relationship but i don’t really think it’s pertinent nor am i that interested. arafat was a public figure and therefore his assassination should be subject to an intense thorough investigation regardless of who his wife is or what their relationship was.

      as far as i am concerned your focus on her sincerity is a diversionary distraction/ie, a thread jack. so you can take the last word. i could care less. it’s not about her or her ‘sincerity’ or alleged lack thereof.

  13. RE: “New report proves Yasser Arafat was most likely assassinated through polonium poisoning”

    SEE: “Poisoning Arafat”, by Uri Avnery, Counterpuch.org, 7/06/12

    [EXCERPT] Tel Aviv — For me, there was no surprise. From the very first day, I was convinced that Yasser Arafat had been poisoned by Ariel Sharon. I even wrote about it several times.

    It was a simple logical conclusion.

    First, a thorough medical examination in the French military hospital where he died did not find any cause for his sudden collapse and death. No traces of any life-threatening disease were found.

    The rumors distributed by the Israeli propaganda machine that Arafat had AIDS were blatant lies. They were a continuation of the rumors spread by the same machine that he was gay – all part of the relentless demonization of the Palestinian leader, which went on daily for decades.

    When there is no obvious cause of death, there must be a less obvious one.

    Second, we know by now that several secret services possess poisons that leave no routinely detectable trace. These include the CIA, the Russian FSB (successor of the KGB), and the Mossad.

    Third, opportunities were plentiful. Arafat’s security arrangements were decidedly lax. He would embrace perfect strangers who presented themselves as sympathizers of the Palestinian cause and often seated them next to himself at meals.

    Fourth, there were plenty of people who aimed at killing him and had the means to do so. The most obvious one was our prime minister, Ariel Sharon. He had even talked about Arafat having “no insurance policy” in 2004.

    What was previously a logical probability has now become a certainty. . .

    . . . I cannot prove it, but I am sure that Sharon was told by Washington: “On no condition are you allowed to kill him in a way that can be traced to you. If you can do it without leaving a trace, go ahead.” . . .

    . . . Arafat was the man who was able to make peace with Israel, willing to do so, and – more important – to get his people, including the Islamists, to accept it. This would have put an end to the settlement enterprise.

    That’s why he was poisoned.

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to counterpunch.org

    • P.S. ALSO SEE: “If Arafat were still alive”, by Uri Avnery, Guardian.co.uk, 1/30/07

      [EXCERPT] . . . On the way back from Arafat’s funeral in 2004, I ran into Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli Knesset. I asked him if he believed that Arafat was murdered. Zahalka, a doctor of pharmacology, answered “Yes!” without hesitation. That was my feeling too. But a hunch is not proof. It is only a product of intuition, common sense and experience.
      Just before he died last month, Uri Dan, Ariel Sharon’s loyal mouthpiece for almost 50 years, published a book in France. It includes a report of a conversation Sharon told him about, with President 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.” Dan took this as confirmation.
      The secret services of many countries have poisons that are all but undetectable. Ten years ago, Mossad tried to kill Khaled Mashal, the Hamas leader, in broad daylight on a thoroughfare in Amman. He was saved only when the Israeli government was compelled to provide the antidote to the poison it had used. Viktor Yushchenko, the president of Ukraine, was poisoned and saved only when the symptoms were identified by experts in time.
      Is there proof Arafat was murdered by Israeli or other agents? No, there is none. This week I again ran into Zahalka, and both of us concluded that the suspicion is growing stronger . . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to guardian.co.uk

      • P.P.S. RE: “Uri Dan. . . published a book. . . It includes a report of a conversation Sharon told him about, with President Bush. Sharon asked for permission to kill Arafat and Bush gave it to him, with the proviso that it must be done undetectably.” ~ Uri Avnery (from above)

        ALSO SEE: “Sharon won’t rule out attack on Arafat”, by The Associated Press, 4/23/04

        [EXCERPT] JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Friday he is no longer bound by a promise to President Bush not to harm Yasser Arafat — the strongest sign yet that Israel could target the jittery Palestinian leader.
        In an interview with Israel TV’s Channel Two, Sharon said he told Bush about his change of position in a meeting in Washington last week.
        Sharon did not elaborate or say how Bush responded. . .

        ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to usatoday.com

  14. Kathleen says:

    Many thought it was an assassination. Now more evidence.

    I always thought it was interesting that Sharon had a stroke and went into a coma soon after.

    Two old titans down and out

    • Kathleen says:

      link to juancole.com

      Posted on 11/07/2013 by Juan Cole

      Aljazeera America has the exclusive on the Swiss scientists’ findings that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned with polonium, after the fashion of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko. That the Likud government of Ariel Sharon in Israel was behind the assassination is not much in doubt. Polonium is only produced in Russia and wouldn’t be easy for a non-state actor to get hold of. Israel has a long tradition of murdering its political enemies (configuring all resistance to its Apartheid and colonial policies of aggressive expansion and ethnic cleansing as “terrorism” and then eliminating the “terrorists.”) This is not to deny that terrorism (in the sense of non-state actors killing innocent civilians for political purposes) has been committed against Israelis; it is to point out that the Israeli Right’s rhetoric sweeps up a lot of things besides that specific problem.

      • lysias says:

        Polonium is only produced in Russia

        Actually, it’s also produced in Israel. Polonium:

        According to the book The Bomb in the Basement, several deaths in Israel during 1957–1969 were caused by 210Po.[87] A leak was discovered at a Weizmann Institute laboratory in 1957. Traces of 210Po were found on the hands of professor Dror Sadeh, a physicist who researched radioactive materials. Medical tests indicated no harm, but the tests did not include bone marrow. Sadeh died from cancer. One of his students died of leukemia, and two colleagues died after a few years, both from cancer. The issue was investigated secretly, and there was never any formal admission that a connection between the leak and the deaths had existed.[88]

        • Kathleen says:

          the one thing that is so odd about all of this is why did they wait so long to examine and test Arafat’s body for poisoning etc. Why wait so long?

        • seafoid says:

          Kathleen

          I’d say it was something in the background. Either Israel went beyond the pale and annoyed the Swiss or the team got some insider information.

        • libra says:

          lysias: According to the book The Bomb in the Basement, several deaths in Israel during 1957–1969 were caused by 210Po.[87] A leak was discovered at a Weizmann Institute laboratory in 1957.

          By good fortune, Mondoweiss has its very own Professor of Physics at the Weizmann Institute. I’m sure he’ll pop up soon to assure us that creating polonium is well beyond the capability of Israeli scientists.

  15. That’s impossible. But if it is possible, it didn’t happen. And if it did happen, we didn’t do it. But if we did do it, we had a good reason. And if we didn’t have a good reason, what are you going to do about it?

    That about cover it?

  16. I remember the sleazy Zionists who would deny Israel having any responsibility in the murder of Arafat and trying to convince whomever ready to listen that Arafat died of AIDS. They, of course, knew damn well that there wasn’t a shred of truth in this but they had no scruples trying. It’s in those instances that I came to realize the depth of depravity that is eating at the hearts of this group of people.

    • And to emphasize the smear they would say he caught AIDS because it was “well known” he was infatuated with boys! I told you. The depravity of the Zionist mind has no bottom.