Uri Avnery is the founder of the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom and a former member of the Israeli Knesset. This is what Uri Avnery, an Israeli peace activist and a Jew wrote in 2004:
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, together with the conviction that Arafat’s absence is felt now more than ever.
Already the evidence is pouring in about state involvement. John Croft, a retired British radiation expert who worked for the British agency during the Litvinenko crisis, said a Polonium-210 sample large enough to kill would likely have to come from a government with either civilian or military nuclear capabilities.
- “You would need to have access to very sophisticated facilities,” he said. That could indicate involvement by Israel, which has two nuclear research facilities, as well as dozens of other countries.
The Swiss report emanating from the Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne, Switzerland has reignited a storm of speculation over what killed Arafat, who died on Nov. 11, 2004 at the age of 75 at a military hospital outside Paris after decades of fighting with Israel.
According to a report filed by Dan Murphy, and published in the Christian Science Minotor there are recorded threats about assassinating Mr. Arafat. ( Dan Murphy, Staff writer / July 4, 2012 ):
- Many Palestinians were convinced that he’d been poisoned by Israel. In the final years of his life, Arafat had been completely isolated by Israel. In 2002, Israeli troops laid seige to his Muqata headquarters in Ramallah and destroyed all but one of the buildings there with bulldozers. From the point of view of Arafat stalwarts, what could make more sense than Israel finishing off a man they’d come to see as an obstacle in the years since the Oslo accords? And it wasn’t as if Israel had been shy about threatening Arafat.
- In September 2003 Ehud Olmert, then a member of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s cabinet, told Israel Radio that killing Arafat “is definitely one of the options” the government was considering. “We are trying to eliminate all the heads of terror, and Arafat is one of the heads of terror,” Mr. Olmert, who went on to serve as Prime Minister, said at the time. Arafat was dead a little over a year later.
Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya and various Western News agencies are reporting that the Swiss Iinstitute had tested Arafat’s personal effects, given them by his widow
… they showed that his clothes, toothbrush and kaffiyeh headscarf contained abnormal levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element.
Polonium was the same element that caused the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006– a one-time KGB agent turned critic of the Russian government, in London in 2006. Litvinenko had reportedly ingested tea laced with the poisonous substance.
“The Palestinian Authority was and remains fully prepared to cooperate and to provide all the facilities needed to reveal the real causes that led to the death of the late president,” the statement said. “There are no religious or political reasons that preclude research on this issue, including an examination of the remains of the late president by a reliable national medical body, upon request and approval by his family.”
The Palestinian president immediately to exhume the body of Mr. Arafat paving the way for an autopsy on Yasser Arafat’s remains.
Arafat had suffered a mysterious intestinal inflammation, jaundice and a blood condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), according to French medical records. Ostensibly the French records were inconclusive about what brought about DIC, which has numerous causes including infections, colitis and liver disease. French doctors at the time said that Arafat died of a massive brain hemorrhage —weeks after he fell violently ill at his West Bank compound. However the contravercial French report was disputed by almost all internation medical teams that scrutinized the evidence and symptoms of poisonishing.
The uncertainty and esotric mystery surrounding the death of a vibrant man prompted many in the Arab world to allege he was killed by Israel, which viewed him as an obstacle to a peace treaty. Israeli officials have vociferously denied any foul play, but there are leaks from Israel that have suggested otherwise.
Francois Bochud, who heads the IRP found what Bochud characterized as quantities of polonium. What confounded Bochud and others what the fact that a urine stain on underwear worn by Arafat and a blood stain on hospital clothing than on belongings he hadn’t used, such as new and unworn socks stored in the same bag. What is strange was the fact that unused clothing was also laced with the poison.
Bochud reveled that an “elevated” level of more than 100 millibecquerel, a measurement of radioactivity, was found on personal belongings used by Arafat — compared with levels of some 10 millibecquerel in the reference samples.
Damage control has already started to hide the incompetency or collusion of the French authorities who did not test for Polonium poisoning. Denis Gutierrez, a senior French military doctor, said he did not know whether French medics checked Arafat for polonium while he was at France’s Percy military hospital, and was unaware of anything about poisoning in the 558-page classified report on his death.
Bone marrow and hair samples should be tested for signs of poisoning.
A 2007 study by radiation experts from Britain’s Health Protection Agency concluded that once Polonium-210 is deposited in the bloodstream, its potent effects are nearly impossible to stop. A poisoning victim would experience multiple organ failure as alpha radiation particles bombard the liver, kidneys and bone marrow from within.
At the time of his death, Abu Ammar (Yesser Arafat) was confined by Israel to the Occupied West Bank, in the Ramallah government compound. The US and Israel viewed Arafat as largely responsible for the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising.
- Dov Weisglass, the chief of staff of Israel’s then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, insisted Israeli officials never considered killing Arafat and, in fact, Sharon was opposed to the idea because “he didn’t think his physical extermination would help. On the contrary.”
- Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor was dismissive of the latest developments, saying “the circumstances of Arafat’s death are not a mystery … He was treated in France, in a French hospital by French doctors and they have all the medical information.”
Evidence and public opinions thinks to the contrary. Here is what my freind and fellow peace trekker Uri Avnery said in 2004:
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.
Recently we got a kind of confirmation. 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 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/jan/31/israel.comment) (A longer version of this article appears at Gush-shalom.org)