Israel Rejects Findings, Accusations
Palestinian arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat was poisoned to death in 2004 with radioactive polonium, his widow claimed on Wednesday after receiving the results of Swiss forensic tests on her husband’s corpse.
“We are revealing a real crime, a political assassination,” she told Reuters in Paris.
A team of experts, including from Lausanne University Hospital’s Institute of Radiation Physics, opened Arafat’s grave in Ramallah last November, and took samples from his body to seek evidence of alleged poisoning.
“This has confirmed all our doubts,” said Suha Arafat after the Swiss forensic team handed over its report to her lawyers and Palestinian officials in Geneva on Tuesday. “It is scientifically proved that he didn’t die a natural death and we have scientific proof that this man was killed.”
She did not accuse any country or person, and acknowledged that the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization had many enemies, although she noted that Israel had branded him an obstacle to peace.
Wasel Abu Yousef, member of the executive committee of
the Palestine Liberation Organization, was less circumspect, saying on Wednesday that “President Arafat passed away as a victim of an organized terrorist assassination perpetrated by a state, that is Israel, which was looking to get rid of him.”
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor dismissed the findings, saying they were “more soap opera than science” and that it was part of the ongoing battle between Arafat’s widow and the Palestinian Authority.
While Suha Arafat commissioned the Swiss Institute to investigate, Palmor noted that the Palestinian Authority turned to a Russian team which last month concluded that no traces of polonium were found.
“It is all very, very confused and unclear,” Palmor said. “What is clear is that there are huge holes in the theory, more holes than in Swiss cheese.”
He said that the Swiss report was based on only partial informaton, made without the team looking for traces of radioactivity at Arafat’s former office in Ramallah or in the French hospital where Arafat was hospitalized. Nor, he said, did they have access to Arafat’s medical files.