Why Israel wanted Arafat dead

Yasser Arafat (Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Yasser Arafat (Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

It seems there are still plenty of parties who would prefer that Arafat’s death continues to be treated as a mystery rather than as an assassination.

It is hard, however, to avoid drawing the logical conclusion from the finding last week by Swiss scientists that the Palestinian leader’s body contained high levels of a radioactive isotope, polonium-210. An inconclusive and much more limited study by a Russian team published immediately after the Swiss announcement also suggests Arafat died from poisoning.

It is time to state the obvious: Arafat was killed. And suspicion falls squarely on Israel.

Israel alone had the means, track record, stated intention and motive. Without Israel’s fingerprints on the murder weapon, it may not be quite enough to secure a conviction in a court of law, but it should be evidence enough to convict Israel in the court of world opinion.

Israel had access to polonium from its nuclear reactor in Dimona, and it has a long record of carrying out political assassinations, some ostentatious and others covert, often using hard-to-trace chemical agents. Most notoriously, Israel tried to quietly kill another Palestinian leader, Khaled Meshal of Hamas, in Jordan in 1997, injecting a poison into his ear. Meshal was saved only because the assassins were caught and Israel was forced to supply an antidote. Israeli leaders have been queuing up to deny there was ever any  malign intent from Israel’s side towards Arafat. Silvan Shalom, the energy minister, claimed last week: “We never made a decision to harm him physically.” Shalom must be suffering from a memory lapse.

There is plenty of evidence that Israel wanted Arafat – in the euphemism of that time – “removed”. In January 2002, Shaul Mofaz, Israel’s military chief of staff, was caught on a microphone whispering to Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, about Arafat: “We have to get rid of him.”

With the Palestinian leader holed up for more than two years in his battered compound in Ramallah, surrounded by Israeli tanks, the debate in the Israel government centred on whether he should be exiled or killed.

In September 2003, when Shalom was foreign minister, the cabinet even issued a warning that Israel would “remove this obstacle in a manner, and at a time, of its choosing.” The then-deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert, clarified that killing Arafat was “one of the options”.

What stayed Israel’s hand – and fuelled its equivocal tone – was Washington’s adamant opposition. In the wake of these threats, Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, warned that a move against Arafat would trigger “rage throughout the Arab world, the Muslim world and in many other parts of the world”.

By April 2004, however, Sharon declared he was no longer obligated by his earlier commitment to President George Bush not to “harm Arafat physically”. “I am released from that pledge,” he observed. The White House too indicated a weakening of its stance: an unnamed spokesman responded feebly that the US “opposed any such action”.

Unknown is whether Israel was able to carry out the assassination alone, or whether it needed to recruit a member or members of Arafat’s inner circle, with him inside his Ramallah compound, as accomplices to deliver the radioactive poison.

So what about motive? How did Israel gain from “removing” Arafat? To understand Israel’s thinking, one needs to return to another debate raging at that time, among Palestinians.

The Palestinian leadership was split into two camps, centred on Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat’s heir apparent. The pair had starkly divergent strategies for dealing with Israel.

In Arafat’s view, Israel had reneged on commitments it made in the Oslo accords. He was therefore loath to invest exclusively in the peace process. He wanted a twin strategy: keeping open channels for talks while maintaining the option of armed resistance to pressure Israel. For this reason he kept a tight personal grip on the Palestinian security forces.

Abbas, on the other hand, believed that armed resistance was a gift to Israel, delegitimising the Palestinian struggle. He wanted to focus exclusively on negotiations and state-building, hoping to exert indirect pressure on Israel by proving to the international community that the Palestinians could be trusted with statehood. His priority was cooperating closely with the US and Israel in security matters.

Israel and the US strongly preferred Abbas’s approach, even forcing Arafat for a time to reduce his own influence by appointing Abbas to a newly created post of prime minister.

Israel’s primary concern was that, however much of a prisoner they made Arafat, he would remain a unifying figure for Palestinians. By refusing to renounce armed struggle, Arafat managed to contain – if only just – the mounting tensions between his own Fatah movement and its chief rival, Hamas.

With Arafat gone, and the conciliatory Abbas installed in his place, those tensions erupted violently into the open – as Israel surely knew they would. That culminated in a split that tore apart the Palestinian national movement and led to a territorial schism between the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza.

In Israel’s oft-used terminology, Arafat was the head of the “infrastructure of terror”. But Israel’s preference for Abbas derived not from respect for him or from a belief that he could successfully persuade Palestinians to accept a peace deal. Sharon famously declared that Abbas was no more impressive than a “plucked chicken”.

Israel’s interests in killing Arafat are evident when one considers what occurred after his death. Not only did the Palestinian national movement collapse, but the Palestinian leadership got drawn back into a series of futile peace talks, leaving Israel clear to concentrate on land grabs and settlement building.

Contemplating the matter of whether Israel benefited from the loss of Arafat, Palestinian analyst Mouin Rabbani observed: “Hasn’t Abu Mazen’s [Abbas’] exemplary commitment to Oslo over the years, and maintenance of security cooperation with Israel through thick and thin, already settled this question?”

Abbas’ strategy may be facing its ultimate test now, as the Palestinian negotiating team once again try to coax out of Israel the barest concessions on statehood at the risk of being blamed for the talks’ inevitable failure. The effort already looks deeply misguided.

While the negotiations have secured for the Palestinians only a handful of ageing political prisoners, Israel has so far announced in return a massive expansion of the settlements and the threatened eviction of some 15,000 Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

It is doubtless a trade-off Arafat would have rued.

A version of this article first appeared in The National, Abu Dhabi.

About Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is jonathan-cook.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation | Tagged

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

  1. pabelmont says:

    Excellent analysis. Israel has long been comforted by a world viewing Palestinians as terrorists, and Hamas has been branded as a terrorist organization. The Fatah/Hamas split was thus useful to Israel. Was it also necessary? Not in my view.

    My take? Nothing the Palestinians do — whether armed struggle using the means so far apparently available to them (but if drones can be defeated, what next?) or economy-building (and how much of this is entwined with political and diplomatic corruption?) or ?? state-building ?? on the postage-stamp-sized territory to which they have been limited — can avail them; what alone can “work” is outside intervention, and that depends on Palestinians and their friends educating the people of the world and encouraging them to put pressure on their own national governments to act to enforce international law.

    Without countervailing pressure from some direction, Israel will persevere, quite contentedly, on its policy of expanding to Judaize all (or very nearly all) of Mandatory Palestine. That direction cannot be from inside powerless Palestine, as 46 years of occupation have shown.

    • eljay says:

      >> Israel alone had the means, track record, stated intention and motive.

      Although it’s not certain that Zio-supremacists killed Arafat, it makes perfect sense that they would want him dead.

      >> While the negotiations have secured for the Palestinians only a handful of ageing political prisoners, Israel has so far announced in return a massive expansion of the settlements and the threatened eviction of some 15,000 Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

      The Palestinians’ representatives really f*cked that one up. Intentionally? I wonder…

      >> My take? Nothing the Palestinians do … can avail them; what alone can “work” is outside intervention … Without countervailing pressure from some direction, Israel will persevere, quite contentedly, on its policy of expanding to Judaize all (or very nearly all) of Mandatory Palestine.

      I agree.

    • marc b. says:

      but who ‘from the outside’ will exert that pressure? if Palestinians in Israel and the WB, en masse, went on strike, Israel would cease to function. the construction and service industries would grind to a halt. yes, it’s unlikely to happen, but more likely than some white knight from the international community coming to the Palestinians rescue. and since many thoughtful people believe the two-state solution is dead, and most outside powers cannot even acknowledge the possibility of a one-state solution, that is even further reason for pessimism about the imposition of an agreement. regrettably I think the most likely ‘solution’ is Zionism’s slow motion suicide, which will be blamed on the powerless Palestinian enemy from within, the latest stab in the back mythology.

      PS for anyone interested in further information on US/Israeli meddling in the affairs of others, see cannonfire BlogSpot for a synopsis of recent Stuxnet mayhem, and implications.

      • Kathleen says:

        From what I understand from folks who have been deeply involved with this issue for decades Israel has persistently thrown peaceful non violent organizers pushing for what you have suggested in prison …decades of this/

    • American says:

      “Excellent analysis”

      And the right one no doubt.
      Now if someone could only discover who slipped him the polonium.
      Had to be someone close to him.
      Let the waterboarding commence…someone knows.

      • Theo says:

        Who did the actual poisoning?
        We should look at those swiss bank accounts and see which one had a very large deposit after Arafat´s death!

  2. American says:

    I cant understand why no one is doing any tit for tat on the zionist and poisoning off their bigwigs.
    Is it because they mostly hide out and bunker in in Israel and dont go to any country or place that is too big a security risk for them?
    I would have no moral objections to taking them out the same way they have taken out their enemies and the leaders of their enemies.
    BTW —in the news recently a Iran gov official was assassinated and opinion is Israel did it…..again.
    But then again maybe the Sauds have also taken up Israeli tactics and Bandar had him whacked.

  3. Great post! But this assassination will get buried because the corrupt PA want to please US and Israel.

  4. Walid says:

    With the compliant Abbas poised to take over, it was inevitable that Israel would liquidate Arafat.

  5. Erasmus says:

    Persuasive analysis, Mr.Cook.

    I wonder: WHERE are the FRENCH Laboratory results?????
    What might take them soooo long to come up with the results?

    Moreover, I always have wondered as to
    WHY there had been no immediate French post-mortem??

    • I wonder: WHERE are the FRENCH Laboratory results?????

      the french results are in link to mondoweiss.net

      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.

      and the french authorities have launched a murder investigation.

      • Shuki says:

        His “wife” (who lived in the lap of luxury while the Palestinians suffered in poverty) would not authorize its release.

        I wonder what she is hiding?

      • Erasmus says:

        Re Annie + French bodytissue Laboratory results

        Sorry, i can not find any reference to French laboratory results.

        As far as i am concerned, sofar only the Russians have produced a report and the Lausanne Institute in Switzerland.

        The 9 year-delayed postmortem samples had been given to THREE Labs: 1 Russian, 1 Swiss and 1 French.

        • erasmus, my mistake. CURML is a merging of the Lausanne Institute in Switzerland and also the Institutes of Legal Medicine in Geneva and i mistakenly recalled the merging was with a french institute instead of the geneva institute.

          which french lab, do you know? and do you have reason to doubt the swiss results or think perhaps the french already have results and they are being withheld? also, is it normal for results of this nature to be released to the public? anyway, i don’t know.

        • Erasmus says:

          @ Annie re French Polonium Investigation

          I do not know which french Institute / laboratory has been encharged / entrusted with the body-tissue tests. Also a little websearch did not yield any concrete result.
          No,i do not want to cast any doubts on the Swiss results and report; considering that 9 years have passed after Arafat’s demise, I think they have done a very diligent job and have worked scientifically rather professionally, including their cautious formulation wrt their conclusions.

          I do not want to speculate as to whether or why French lab results may be withheld. However, i fail to understand why no results have been reported / published so far. That in itself i have no reasonable explanation for, failing which the door to wild speculations remains open…..

          Madame Arafat and the Palestinian Authority are those who have initiated the post-mortem investigation and Polonium testing. Given the prominence of Y. Arafat and the strange circumstances of his death, I trust any test results will become public, one way or the other.

          What is a bit irritating in general is imho the somewhat extraordinary ME foreign policy behaviour of Monsieur L. Fabius…….,last not least shown recently in the P5+1 negotiations with Iran.
          Alas, he has a HUGE Ego, not entirely alien to the Grand Nation….. :-)

        • Madame Arafat and the Palestinian Authority are those who have initiated the post-mortem investigation and Polonium testing.

          that’s not my understanding link to america.aljazeera.com

          By 2011, when Al Jazeera began an investigation, Arafat’s death was a cold case. During the investigation, Suha Arafat gave the network access to her late husband’s full medical records and a bag of his belongings, including clothing he wore during his final days. Tests conducted by the Swiss scientists who issued the new report found elevated levels of polonium-210, one of the element’s isotopes, in blood, sweat and urine stains on Arafat’s clothes.

          In July 2012, Al Jazeera broadcast the results of its investigation in “What Killed Arafat?” The documentary triggered a French murder investigation and led to the exhumation of the leader’s remains. Sixty samples of his body tissue were taken, and 20 each distributed to the Swiss team; a French team of judges and forensic experts assigned to the murder investigation; and a Russian group invited at the request of the Palestinian Authority.

          The Russians are expected to disclose their results soon. The French are not expected to release their results before the murder investigation concludes.

          and al jazeera published recently they initiated their investigation at the urging of an american …ex state department or something. i will look and see if i can find it.

          edit: i think i recalled this inaccurately, it says “spearheaded”

          The Al Jazeera investigation was spearheaded by investigative journalist Clayton Swisher, a former U.S. State Department Diplomatic Protection agent who became friendly with Arafat and was suspicious of the manner of his death.

          link to reuters.com

      • seafoid says:

        The bots have developed world class murder skills. And they keep on supporting and growing yesha and run rings around Palestinians. But a Judaism that needs an apartheid state to function is a dead Judaism. Wallahi.

  6. Denis says:

    I would like to register a few points of disagreement and for discussion:

    1. I am incredulous that anyone could write an article on why the world, much less GoI, would want Arafat dead and not mention BSO one time. The 1972 Munich Olympics – not one time. The 1973 Khartoum massacre – nothing. Incredulous.

    2. Cook says:

    Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, warned that a move against Arafat would trigger “rage throughout the Arab world, the Muslim world and in many other parts of the world”.

    Wasn’t the first time Powell got it completely wrong, was it?

    For Cook goes on to say, in effect, Powell got it completely wrong:

    Not only did the Palestinian national movement collapse, but the Palestinian leadership got drawn back into a series of futile peace talks, leaving Israel clear to concentrate on land grabs and settlement building.

    3. Cook says:

    Israel alone had the means, track record, stated intention and motive.

    Oh? USG also has access to polonium, plutonium, and Pluto the dog, any one of which they could have sic’d on Arafat with devastating results. Given that Arafat personally orchestrated the murders of US Ambassador Cleo Noel, Jr., U.S. Charges d’affaires George Curtis Moore, and Belgian Guy Eid in Khartoum on March 2, 1973, USG had as much motive and means as anyone.

    link to wnd.com

    4. Arafat was reviled by almost as many people as Jerry Sandusky. He was a man with the right cause and the wrong approach. He set the Palestinians and the State of Palestine back at least 30 years. He was Atilla the Hun when what they needed was a Ghandi.

    Good riddance. And to whomever popped him with polonium, good job.

      • Denis says:

        Black September Organization

      • marc b. says:

        BSO stands for Boston Symphony Orchestra, annie. or maybe he meant Black September Organization. not sure. the rest of his comment is a bit of a muddle too. because repeated statements by Sharon etc. about the need to get rid of Arafat should be ignored. and because what the Palestinians needed was a Gandhi . . . while the poor Zionists had to make do with the likes of Begin and Jabotinsky. oh imagine what a paradise Israel could be today if the Zionists had a Jewish Gandhi!

      • lysias says:

        Black September Organization. Which killed far fewer people than the IDF.

      • W.Jones says:

        “BSO one time. The 1972 Munich Olympics” ~Denis
        “what’s BSO denis?”~ Annie
        ——————————————–
        Probably “Black Sept. Org.” His idea is that in writing a whodunnit article, one should use justifications based decades in the past rather than focus on why the State would go after him when it did.

        • Denis says:

          No, W.J., my idea is that in writing an article pointing a finger at GoI for Arafat’s murder and failing to mention, say, BSO/Munich as a motive, is equivalent to writing an article pointing a finger at the Union Army for John Wilkes Booth’s murder and failing to mention, say, Lincoln’s assassination as a motive. Yeah, them Union soldiers shot him in a burning barn, can’t imagine why . . . he was a purty good guy according to his mother. Them damn Yankees again, always killing innocent Southerners.

          The fact that Arafat was taken out by an extrajudicial process doesn’t mean he wasn’t a villain, so let’s not twist history by making him look like an innocent victim, which is what Cook seems to be doing by ignoring Arafat’s most ignominious contributions to history. IMO.

          I don’t think anyone should underestimate the impact Munich had on the Israelis, nor should anyone underestimate how long they were willing to wait to finish off those responsible.

        • Sumud says:

          I don’t think anyone should underestimate the impact Munich had on the Israelis, nor should anyone underestimate how long they were willing to wait to finish off those responsible.

          Israel embarked on an orgy of killing after Munich – not only pursuing and killing those that were responsible (and innocent bystanders), they also invaded Southern Lebanon and launched air strikes on Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria killing 250-300 innocent men, women and children.

          I am incredulous that anyone would think this is a reasonable response, let alone suggest that more bloodlust is justifiable.

    • denis

      Maybe because Arafat had nothing to do with it. But if you support murder I understand that you lie.

    • lysias says:

      Sandusky? Is that meant to remind us of the suggestions that Arafat was a pedophile? You mean you accept the Israeli lies about Arafat?

    • Ellen says:

      Denis, do you think former Zionist leaders should have been murdered for their hand and direction in the killings of British citizens, hanging of British soldiers, executing UN negotiators, and other suspected murders Western officials by Zionist leaders — some of whom became Prime Ministers of Israel?

      What do you think?

      • MHughes976 says:

        I think it below the standards of Mondoweiss to glorify assassination. I wouldn’t be surprised if Arafat was widely disliked and mistrusted even within his own circle. Someone within that circle must have helped to kill him, I think that that has been obvious for years. There must be stones that the Palestinian leadership doesn’t want anyone to look under, which is a big part of the explanation of why there wasn’t much furor at the time. His dramatic execution would have sparked riots and ructions but his poisoning in circumstances that wouldn’t be revealed officially for some years – and with no important voice leading protest – would not. If you told me that Westerners who tried to negotiate with him found unbearably slippery or that his someone Marxist rhetoric was past its sell-by date in the Muslim world I wouldn’t be surprised. And I’m sure that the overwhelming feeling in the West would be and long will be ‘good riddance’ since he was so massively detested. He had been a terrorist leader, that is objectively true. On the other hand he had, like some other terrorist leaders, been recognised as a negotiating partner and to kill someone with whom you’re supposed to be negotiating is a major crime.

        • W.Jones says:

          ” I wouldn’t be surprised if Arafat was widely disliked and mistrusted even within his own circle.”
          Why?

          ” I’m sure that the overwhelming feeling in the West would be and long will be ‘good riddance’ since he was so massively detested.”
          Really? Carter go along with him OK, right?

        • I think it below the standards of Mondoweiss to glorify assassination.

          do tell. and what do you mean by ‘glorify’?

          I wouldn’t be surprised if Arafat was widely disliked and mistrusted even within his own circle.

          widely? within his own circle? why?

        • MHughes976 says:

          I considered that the remark ‘whoever popped him with plutonium, good job’ amounted to glorifying or at least applauding assassination, though I’ve valued other remarks by Denis here. I’ve long thought that Arafat was poisoned and that though the poison must have been brought from outside someone on the inside must have been complicit – and that led to me say that serious tensions within such a besieged group would not have been unlikely.

        • MHughes976 says:

          Well, I wasn’t claiming direct knowledge but the situation within the Palestinian leadership must have been very tense and serious splits would not have been unlikely. I wasn’t saying that detestation of Arafat was universal among Western politicians but I would think that he was deeply disliked and mistrusted by public opinion in the West – part of the all but uncritical support for the Israeli cause that prevailed among us in the years when Arafat was to some extent a powerful figure. It will still for that reason be very difficult to rouse our public opinion to more than perfunctory condemnation even if Israeli responsibility becomes proven. I was saying that Arafat had been accepted as a negotiating partner and that to kill a negotiating partner, whatever his past, is a major crime but I guess I’m in a minority in that public square of ours.

      • Denis says:

        Ellen, that is one of the hardest questions of all in this mess: is the extra-judicial killing of evil people justified either as a) retribution or b) to prevent future evil acts? I think the question is easier to answer when both objectives are met.

        For instance, if the Brits had hung all the members of Irgun and the Stern Gang in 1945, with or without judicial oversight, in retaliation for their bloody crimes against the British and the Palestinians, it would not only have been retribution, it may well have prevented the Nakba, and, in the long run, made the world would a much safer place and made Palestine a far more peaceful place for Jews and Arabs.

        Would the world have been a better, safer place without Stern, Begin, Dayan, Sharon in it? Absolutely. Would that justify killing them? Well, the problem is that if they had been killed in 1945, we’d never know what a mess they didn’t leave in 1948 and beyond.

        Is the world a better place without Arafat in it? In my opinion, absolutely, and for the same reason. But how could I prove that, not knowing how much more bloodshed, if any, was avoided by his assassination?

        I think MHughes is right. But it is one thing to advocate assassination, which I am not doing, and it is something else to analyze an assassination in past tense and ask is the world a better place because of it. One could do that thought-exercise with respect to Lincoln, McKinnley, Kennedy, Sadat, Rabin, . . . . well, the world is a bloody place.

        • Ellen says:

          Denis, thank you for a thoughtful answer. I had interpreted your comment above that you advocated assassination as a solution to possible future crimes.

          We can always entertain the what if and choose to believe that things would have been better if a Robert Kennedy were not killed and became President. Or if the British authorities had round up all members of Irgun and Stern and strung them up in retaliation for hanging British soldiers.

          Ideas that such actions could have prevented the Nakba and possibly made the region a much safer place for both Jews and Palestinians is really only our wishful imagination. These men were part of an entrenched movement and other criminals would emerge to lead the movement and continue its growth. The British, in their desire to give up their mandate, recognized this and wanted to wash their hands of it all.

          As for Robert Kennedy, for example. He was a cog in a huge system. With the best of all intentions, what could he have changed in the scheme of anything?

          Arafat and “good riddance:” Regardless of what anyone thought of the man inside or outside his circle, or on the world stage, what did removing him succeed in? Happy revenge? Opening the door for Hamas? For the PLO/Fatah leader who has no real mandate?

          Retribution is primitive and never a solution to the bigger evils driving these men and women. And as a solution to prevent future evil? It never works. The spores feeding it are in the soil. Cleaning the conditions nurturing the fungus is what works.

          But that is a hard, difficult thankless slog. So yes, we have a bloody world. Life is short, human beings are lazy and we make only very slow progress.

  7. mondonut says:

    Why would anyone take seriously murder accusations leveled by the PA when the PA itself refuses to release the 2004 medical records it received from the French hospital where Arafat died?

    But if it were polonium poisoning (doubtful), then who?

    Means – Every world power, their agents, their allies, their partners in crime. As well as anyone with sufficient access to black markets.

    Motive – Apparently everyone, including the Israelis – as well as Palestinian successors and anyone willing to kill for the rather large amounts of cash flowing through his hands.

    Opportunity – Pretty much just the Palestinians themselves.

    link to independent.co.uk

    A leading British biomedical scientist says it is “highly unlikely” that former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died in a French hospital in 2004 from a lethal dose of radioactive polonium…

    …Professor Nicholas Priest, who formerly headed the biomedical research unit of the Atomic Energy Authority in Britain, told The Independent that, while poisoning by polonium “cannot be totally ruled out”, the symptoms were very different from those of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London in 2006. The professor, a specialist in radiation toxicology, is one the few British scientists to have worked with polonium-210. He was involved in the research over Mr Litvinenko’s death – the only known case of fatal poisoning by the substance. “Key indicators it was not polonium [that killed Arafat] were lack of hair loss in the face, and no damage to his bone marrow, both of which were found extensively in Litvinenko,”

  8. Kathleen says:

    Still have not heard a logical explanation about why it took such a long time to investigate his death this thoroughly?

  9. oneof5 says:

    Black September Organization ?

  10. Ludwig says:

    And the story about the IDF soldier stabbed in the throat while he slept by “Palestinian” youth goes completely unreported on this website.


    • Man stabbed in neck by Palestinian teen in northern Israeli city; assailant avenged Israeli imprisonment of family members, police say.

      link to haaretz.com

      first i heard about it ludwig.

    • Why would it be reported here?

    • Cliff says:

      IDF soldier killed?

      So what. Stop killing Palestinian civilians. Stop stealing Palestinian land and water. Stop building Jewish colonies.

      It’s absolutely disgusting that the Israeli press is calling this a ‘terror attack’.

      You are the Jewish KKK, earwig. I think whatever indignation and outrage there exists over this kind of violence is indicative of Jewish supremacism.

      It’s like, even an attack on the Israeli military is characterized as ‘terror’. And these same Israeli Jews don’t acknowledge Palestinian existence or sovereignty or self-determination and refer to the W. Bank as ‘Judea and Samaria’.

    • Cliff says:

      So has Ludwig been banned yet for being a troll?

      That is exactly what he is. He posts nothing but non-stop bullshit and trolling.

      If there’s a topic on settlement expansion, he cheers it on because he knows it will get a rise out of us.

      • amigo says:

        “If there’s a topic on settlement expansion, he cheers it on because he knows it will get a rise out of us.” Cliff.

        Let him do that but don,t let him know.That will get a rise out of him.

      • Talkback says:

        Cliff says: “So has Ludwig been banned yet for being a troll?”

        I’m against banning anyone.

        • andrew r says:

          So am I. No one’s forcing you to answer the noxious remarks. That said, there’s definitely been a few posters here that made me wish this software had an ignore button, for readability’s sake more than anything else.

        • Cliff says:

          Talkback,

          Go to AtlasShrugged or the comments section of 972+ Mag to see what it would be like here if Zionists were not moderated.

          Banning trolls isn’t wrong. Why should they be allowed to cheer on settlement expansion? Or fling false accusations of antisemitism or double standards?

          And spare me the argument that they incriminate themselves this way. That’s an old line and it’s not necessary to undermine Zionism. Zionism is inherently bad and honest people see that when confronted with it.

          And if it’s out of the sheer principle of freedom of speech, well you should realize there is no such thing.

          Hate speech and instigation are not free speech.

    • Qualtrough says:

      That is a terrible tragedy for the family involved, but when you are a soldier of a brutal occupation force you are fair game under the rules of war, sleeping or not. Furthermore, I doubt very much that you have ever shed a tear or thought for the hundreds of Palestinian children who have been maimed or shot dead for throwing stones. It’s always different for your side isn’t it? Israeli soldiers are killed by inhuman terrorists, but Palestinian kids shouldn’t throw stones if they don’t want to get shot. About sums it up doesn’t it? The world is running out of sympathy for you.

    • eljay says:

      >> And the story about the IDF soldier stabbed in the throat while he slept by “Palestinian” youth goes completely unreported on this website.

      I condemn the stabbing murder (incorrectly described as a “terrorist attack”) of the Israeli soldier by the Palestinian youth. He must be held accountable for his crime.

      >> The father of the assailant, who was detained for questioning, told Haaretz that his son left the house about a month ago, and has not heard from him since. He said he was surprised by the news. … He also said that his permit to reside in Israel was revoked …

      I also condemn the supremacist “Jewish State’s” retaliatory revocation of the father’s residency permit.

  11. The fact that obviously Israel´s “intelligence” murdered Arafat is really not surprising, what is interesting is the method! It gives an interesting turn to another story, that of the Litvinenko murder: „Arafat and Litvinenko: an Interesting Turn to a Mysterious Story“, link to wipokuli.wordpress.com
    Andreas Schlüter
    Sociologist
    Berlin, Germany

  12. jsinton says:

    It’s like a Murder on the Orient Express rip off if you ask me: Everybody is a suspect and in the end you find out the all were twisting a knife in the corpse. Mr. Cook simply lays out the case why they ALL wanted Arafat gone, and why in my view it was simply a conspiracy for the good of all, as they say. Case in point: If Arafat got poisoned with such a toxic substance, why was no one physically close to Arafat poisoned? (Remember, he was cooped up in his office surrounded by hostile tanks.) Answer: His own people did it.

    • Peter J says:

      Good points jsinton,

      But are you absolutly sure now else among Arafats staff was exposed? Do you keep track of them? All of them? Including the cleaner?

      I think Jonathan Cook’s argument are valid but weak (and he offers no sources). Of course there is reason for the Israeli leadership to kill one of its percieved enemies. But that’s just a qui bono-argument. I want more.

      JC rightly points out that there is very few institutions who can get hold of, and use in a perfect dosage, the exact amout of polonium. This surelely points in the direction of Israel. But Israel isn’t one monolithic bloc; it has many faces and competing security bodies. My guess is security people within the one million strong russian population who moved to Israel in the 90-s. They have connection and access to that kind of material from their former mother country. I doubt that Sharon specifically ordered the murder, someone, probably “a russian” did it.

  13. Yitzgood says:

    Did anybody here read this article?

    link to now.mmedia.me

    • eljay says:

      >> Did anybody here read this article?

      Yes. The author does a great – albeit seemingly unintentional – job of bolstering the official report.

      • Yitzgood says:

        Yes. The author does a great – albeit seemingly unintentional – job of bolstering the official report.

        That’s interesting. Please share your reasons. Do you think the same thing about the Independent article?

        • eljay says:

          >> That’s interesting. Please share your reasons.

          Sure.

          1. The author attempts to discredit the levels of Polonium 210 in Arafat’s remains by pointing out that after 19-21 half-lives there should have been next to nothing left of the isotope in his remains. But the report states that levels were 18x higher than normal, which means the levels would have been considerably higher at the time of Arafat’s death.

          2. The author attempts to discredit the value of the milliBecquerel (mBq) as a unit of measurement because, as he puts it, it’s “extremely small”. He then goes on to discuss the occurrence of Polonium 210 in nature and, to support his position, he cites two studies that use the mBq as a unit of measurement, one of which demonstrates amount of Polonium 210 roughly 30x less than the amount found in Arafat’s remains.

        • lysias says:

          Polonium-210 decays into Polonium-206. I wonder if Polonium-206 levels could be used as evidence of the earlier presence of greater quantities of Polonium-210.

        • Yitzgood says:

          But the report states that levels were 18x higher than normal, which means the levels would have been considerably higher at the time of Arafat’s death.

          Everybody understands that large amounts decay into small amounts. A small amount can be accounted for by the decay of a large amount, but there are competing possibilities, no? Small amounts of Uranium decay into smaller amounts of Polonium also.

          he cites two studies that use the mBq as a unit of measurement, one of which demonstrates amount of Polonium 210 roughly 30x less than the amount found in Arafat’s remains.

          You mean the Brazilian study talking about the amount that can be present in one cigarette? That 900 number would be fairly close to the amount amount that could be found in a pack of cigarettes?

          And what is “normal” here? Is there a lot of information available for the amounts of Polonium in corpses? “Normal” is an average? How much does the number vary? And what about the Independent article?

        • @eljay:

          “But the report states that levels were 18x higher than normal”

          The half-life of an isotope (or any other material) is exponential, not linear. Meaning, that after 21 half-lives the amount of the isotope decrease 2 power 21 folds (2,097,152 folds!!).

          The half-life of Polonium 210 is 138 days, as the author wrote. But the biological half life of it is 30-50 days. Assuming Arafat was poised several months or a year before his death (he was very ill in his last year of life), this gives more 6-12 half-lives.

        • lysias says:

          Small amounts of Uranium decay into smaller amounts of Polonium also.

          In which case the presence of so much uranium would have to be explained.

        • eljay says:

          >> Everybody understands that large amounts decay into small amounts. A small amount can be accounted for by the decay of a large amount, but there are competing possibilities, no? Small amounts of Uranium decay into smaller amounts of Polonium also.

          There was no mention in the article you linked to (or in the official report) of Uranium. Are you suggesting Arafat was poisoned with Uranium rather than Polonium, or that a combination was used?

          >> You mean the Brazilian study talking about the amount that can be present in one cigarette? That 900 number would be fairly close to the amount amount that could be found in a pack of cigarettes?

          So…dead Arafat, shortly before his remains were examined, smoked a pack of cigarettes, and this boosted his Polonium 210 levels. Makes sense.

          >> And what about the Independent article?

          Dunno. I haven’t read it.

        • eljay says:

          The half-life of an isotope (or any other material) is exponential, not linear. Meaning, that after 21 half-lives the amount of the isotope decrease 2 power 21 folds (2,097,152 folds!!).

          The half-life of Polonium 210 is 138 days, as the author wrote. But the biological half life of it is 30-50 days. Assuming Arafat was poised several months or a year before his death (he was very ill in his last year of life), this gives more 6-12 half-lives.

          Simple potato seller MY1 puts on his “scientist hat” (where’d that come from?) and suddenly his English improves dramatically. Impressive.

          That said, his comment changes nothing.

        • dramatic improvement!must be the new tutor down at the market.

        • @eljay: I am very disappointed from your reply. many here in this thread, including you, put “scientist hat”, but only my comment, which contains basic knowledge, was treated in different way. I wrote my comment after I realized that the author didn’t mention the term “Biological half life” which must be considered when we speak about isotope’s half life in a living person. Simple calculation shows you that it is almost impossible to find Polonium 210 after nine years unless the French scientists have other technique as lysias mentioned in his comment.

        • eljay says:

          >> Simple calculation shows you that it is almost impossible to find Polonium 210 after nine years unless the French scientists have other technique as lysias mentioned in his comment.

          It’s “almost impossible to find Polonium 210 after nine years”, but levels 18x higher than normal were found. If you can disprove the results or demonstrate that the testing methods were flawed, please do.

        • Cliff says:

          LOL

          Who are you to judge eljay, potato salesman?

          Or are you a scientist in one of your other sockpuppet accounts?

          BTW, shouldn’t you be pushing your potato cart? How do you have so much time to troll? Business must be slow.

        • Yitzgood says:

          There was no mention in the article you linked to (or in the official report) of Uranium. Are you suggesting Arafat was poisoned with Uranium rather than Polonium, or that a combination was used?

          Here are the two sentences leading into the discussion of the amount that can be found in tobacco:

          “Polonium 210 is found in nature as well as occurring as the result of manmade activity. Many of the measurements of the personal effects could easily be within the realm of naturally occurring background levels. As it is a natural decay product from uranium, which is ubiquitous in geology around the world, you will find small amounts of polonium 210 nearly everywhere if you look hard enough.”

          So…dead Arafat, shortly before his remains were examined, smoked a pack of cigarettes, and this boosted his Polonium 210 levels. Makes sense.

          No, if the amount rivals small amounts that can occur naturally, then the decay of a massive amount stops being the only possible explanation. Read the article again and here is the URL for the Independent article.

          link to independent.co.uk

        • Yitzgood says:

          In which case the presence of so much uranium would have to be explained.

          Not so much. According to the Kaszeta article I linked to, Polonium “is a natural decay product from uranium, which is ubiquitous in geology around the world, you will find small amounts of polonium 210 nearly everywhere if you look hard enough.”

  14. Yitzgood says:

    Here is another article which is skeptical about the Al-Jazeera view of the Swiss Report, this time from the Independent:

    link to independent.co.uk

  15. Nevada Ned says:

    For what it’s worth, Uri Avnery thinks that Israel killed Arafat, and said so on CounterPunch back in 2005.

  16. Marco says:

    The Arafat assassination proves Israel is beyond the pale.

    It demonstrates to all of Israel’s neighbors, to the West, and the entire globe that Israel is not a country to be negotiated with.

    What the devil was Arafat doing at the time of his murder that justified poisoning him?

    The lesson is that anyone who stands in the way of expansionist Zionism will be destroyed.

  17. Mayhem says:

    And suspicion falls squarely on Israel

    if you happen to be in the habit of blaming Israel for everything. If you
    want to apply some real logic you would pay serious attention to the
    Russian report that was inconclusive.
    To brazenly claim

    it should be evidence enough to convict
    Israel in the court of world opinion

    is to echo the same bigoted sentiments that come from the anti-Israel lobby all the
    time.
    The killer is just as likely to have come from within the Palestinian
    Authority, who were jockeying for power when he died. His wife Suha accused his aides of plotting his demise – that was her first
    reaction.

  18. Theo says:

    Although Arafat was far from being an honest person, supposedly he accumulated around 50 million dollars in swiss banks, money that was donated to his nation.
    However, he still wanted to fight for the freedom of the palestinians and that was not in the long range interests of Israel.

    They already had Abbas and his consorts on the line, a much more manageable group of politicians, who wanted power and money at any costs. We can see what did Abbas achieve during the past 9 years since he is the chief of the PA, nothing!! He allows Israel to take more and more land on the WB and East Jerusalem and do not bother to take the necessary steps at the UN to secure recoignation for his people. Those swiss accounts must be loaded with the loan of Judas and the funds stolen from his poor people.
    They could use this opportunity to put real pressure on the occupiers, however I personally doubt if they do anything such. They are bought and paid for already, Palestina needs a new set of top politicians!

  19. Astonished to see that my comment from yesterday is still “awaiting Moderation”:
    Not surprising Israel´s “intelligence” murdered Arafat, but the type of poison gives an interesting turn to another story: „Arafat and Litvinenko: an Interesting Turn to a Mysterious Story“, link to wipokuli.wordpress.com
    Andreas Schlüter
    Sociologist
    Berlin, Germany

    • lysias says:

      The assassination of Hariri may well have been a false flag assassination that was meant to be thought obviously the work of Assad’s government.

  20. Chu says:

    Sharon had it right – a plucked chicken. Israel is going to take all the West Bank and say ‘we’ll let the remaining minority becomes citizens’, and they can be the ones to wash the Israeli’s clothes and fix their cars. If Palestinians don’t fight sooner or later they will be enslaved.

    Israelis are lucky that the Lobby is effective with smoke & mirror tactics in the US.
    The occupation is the result of American glibness. More reality shows please.

  21. Refaat says:

    Is not it clear from at least the past 10 years or so that israel wants all Palestinians dead? For many israelis a good Arab is an arab who has been dead for 40 years!

  22. Citizen says:

    Israel has a history of assassinating Palestinian leaders: link to imeu.net

  23. Citizen says:

    How many Iranian nuclear scientists have been murdered to date? More than five?

  24. just says:

    Israel committed another assassination, why am I surprised? I am not. They killed Arafat while he was imprisoned by the IOF. A snuff.

    Speculation about who dunnit & denial of Israel’s guilt is fruitless, imho. They had the means, motive, and opportunity. They wanted him dead and gone– they said so to our Presidents. They, and theirs assassinated 2 Nobel winners.

  25. mcohen says:

    Arafat was talking head everyone wanted him dead

    “The Democratic Circus”

    Found out this morning
    There’s a circus coming to town
    They drive in Cadillacs
    Using walkie-talkies, and the Secret Service

    Their big top
    Imitation of life
    And all the flags and microphones
    We have to cover our eyes

    We play the sideshows
    And we like the tunnel of love
    And when we ride the ferris wheel
    We’re little children again

    And when they’re asking for volunteers
    We’ll be the first ones aboard
    And when the ringmaster calls our names
    We’ll be the first ones to go … to sleep

    Stealing all our dreams
    Dreams for sale
    They sell ‘em back to you

    On with the show
    Start the parade
    We sand along
    Sweep us away

    It’s political party time
    Going down, going down
    And the celebrities all come out
    Coming down, coming down, coming…

    The sun is going down
    And the dogs are starting to howl
    We stay out after dark
    Eating cotton candy
    And the music’s playing…

    How we all laughed!
    We split our sides
    The cameras flashed
    We almost died!

    The rain’s gonna pour on down, falling out of the sky
    Coming down, coming down
    And the celebrities all run out, and the rain’s
    Coming down, coming down

    Gonna rain,
    Gonna rain, gonna rain
    Gonna rain, gonna rain,
    Rain, rain
    Rain, rain

    And now I wonder who’s boss
    And who he’s leavin’ behind?