Will the world take action?
By Stephen Lendman
ON November 11, 2004, Arafat died in a Paris hospital. He was 75. He was hospitalized for an undiagnosed illness. It developed in April. It got worse. He deteriorated badly. He needed special care. On November 3, he slipped into a coma. Days later he died. Previous articles discussed his death. It wasn't accidental. It wasn't natural.
Credible evidence points to assassination.
Israel wanted him
eliminated. He became more liability
His former aide, Hani al-
Hassan, said he personally witnessed
13 attempts on his life.
Arafat said he survived 40 attempts.
In 1985, he narrowly escaped
an Israeli air attack on his
Tunisian headquarters. It killed 73
people. He went jogging shortly before Israel struck. In December
2001, Israeli missiles struck his
Ramallah compound. He was
rushed to safety shortly before the attack. An Israeli military spokesman
called the strike a warning. It
sent a message. Arafat was marked
At the time, he was a virtual
prisoner inside his presidential
compound (the Mukataa). Medical
reports showed him in good
health. Close associates said Ariel
Sharon wanted him dead. As defense
minister in 1982, he failed
trying to kill him during Israel's
siege of Beirut. He let Phalangist
fascists do his dirty work. He
called slaughtering Palestinians
"ridding the world of international
terrorism." Evidence suggests
Sharon succeeded. He killed
Arafat. At the time, the second
Intifada was raging. Sharon declared
war on Palestinian freedom
"We must fight this terrorism,
in an uncompromising war to uproot
these savages, to dismantle
their infrastructure because there
is no compromise with terrorists,"
he said. "This terrorism is activated,
co-ordinated and directed
by one man, Palestinian Authority
Chairman Yasser Arafat."
He was targeted for elimination.
Sharon awaited Washington's approval.
Labour party MK Haim
"Sharon wants Arafat to disappear
and for a moderate Palestinian
leadership to replace him. What
is happening is what we see now:
the de facto destruction of what is
left of the Palestinian Authority
and Israel's full or almost full reoccupation
of the West Bank and
At the time, Netanyahu was
Sharon's chief rival. He called for
"total military victory."
"First, we must dismantle the
Palestinian authority and (eliminate)
Arafat. Second, we must encircle
the main Palestinian population
centres, purge them of terrorists,
and eradicate the terrorist
"Third, we must establish security
separation lines that will allow
Israeli armed forces to enter
Palestinian territory, but prevent
Palestinian terrorists from entering
our towns and cities."
Netanyahu, Sharon and other Israeli
hard-liners wanted Palestinian
resistance entirely destroyed.
They wanted totally subservient
PA leadership replacing it. They
chose Abbas to replace Arafat.
Once Washington approved, they
killed him. They chose the time,
place and method. They thought
they covered their tracks.
They were wrong.
Veteran Israeli journalist/
Sharon confidant/one time
spokesman Uri Dan believed
Sharon killed Arafat.
He discussed it in his book titled
"Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait."
He believed George Bush
approved it. He said Arafat was
poisoned. His long time physician,
Dr Ashraf al-Kurdi, believed it.
On August 12, 2007, Haaretz
headlined "Arafat's doctor: There
was HIV in his blood, but poison
Al-Kurdi was a former Jordanian
health ministry official. The Jordanian
news site Amman quoted
him. He said HIV was injected into
Arafat's bloodstream shortly before
Poison killed him.
Al-Kurdi was initially suspicious,
saying: "I would usually be
summoned to attend to Arafat immediately,
even when all he had
was a simple cold. But when his
medical situation was really deteriorating,
they chose not to call me
After his death, al-Kurdi was
denied access to his body. He demanded
a French government inquiry.
In September 2005, he said
"any doctor would tell you that
(Arafat's symptoms reflected) poisoning."
Before he was flown to
Paris, he'd lost half his body
weight. Reddishness covered his
face. His overall colouring was
There was little doubt he was poisoned.
It was slow-acting. It took
its time killing him. On October
12, 2004, he became suspiciously
ill after ingesting a meal. Initial
symptoms were nausea, vomiting
and abdominal pain.
Hours earlier he was in good
health. Scientists called acute gastrointestinal
with ingestion of a large quantity
"No other cause to explain the
onset of the symptoms could be
identified." Al-Kurdi initially diagnosed
flu. Arafat's health deteriorated.
Tunisian doctors were
flown in to see him. They weren't
able to determine the source of his
On October 29, he was helicoptered
to Jordan. A French government
plane awaited him. He was
flown to Paris for emergency treatment.
French doctors couldn't diagnose
his illness. He deteriorated
further. On November 3, he lapsed
into coma. On November 11, he
No autopsy was conducted. No
cause of death was announced. His
medical records weren't released.
Suspicions of foul play surfaced.
In July 2012, his widow, Suha, ordered
his body exhumed.
Al Al Jazeera published new information,
"A nine-month investigation
suggests that the late Palestinian
leader may have been poisoned
His personal belongings were
examined. They included his
clothes, kaffiyeh and toothbrush.
Polonium traces were found. It's
a rare highly radioactive metalloid.
It's chemically similar to tellurium
and bismuth. It's found in uranium
It's around 109 times more toxic
than hydrogen cyanide. Its main
hazard is radioactivity. It's most
lethal when ingested or inhaled.
It's hard to detect. It doesn't emit
gamma rays. It emits only alpha
particles. Normal radiation detectors
don't recognise them. Hospital
equipment only detects gamma
Ingesting or inhaling alpha particles
causes significant radiation
damage. Special equipment is
needed to recognise them.
(SR) analysed Arafat's belongings.
Blood, sweat, saliva and urine
samples were obtained. Tests confirmed
abnormal polonium levels.
At the time, SR director Dr
Francois Bochud said: "I can confirm
to you that we measured an
unexplained, elevated amount of
unsupported polonium-210 in the
belongings of Mr Arafat that contained
stains of biological fluids."
Israel wanted Abbas as
Palestine's new president. In 2004,
he was complicit in covering up
what happened. Polonium poisoning
deaths are rare. Tests SR performed
high contamination. It didn't
come from natural sources.
French doctors who treated Arafat
were told not to discuss his case.
Israel had motive, opportunity
and expertise to kill him. Mossad
operatives are assassination experts.
They've had decades of
practice. Most attempts succeed.
Hamas political leader Khaled
Mashal was lucky. In 1997, he
was in Amman. Mossad agents
targeted him. They sprayed poison
in his ear. He survived. On
November 6, Al Jazeera headlined
"Exclusive: Swiss study
says Polonium found in Arafat's
bones." Scientists examined his
remains. They found levels at
least 18 times above normal. It's
clear evidence he was poisoned.
Lausanne-based University Centre
of Legal Medicine published
a 108-page report. Al Jazeera obtained
Unnaturally high polonium
levels were found in Arafat's ribs,
pelvis, and "soil stained with his
decaying organs." His body was
exhumed from a Ramallah mausoleum.
Last November, Swiss,
French and Russian scientists obtained
According to Al Jazeera:
"Dave Barclay, a renowned UK
forensic scientist and retired detective
(said) results (showed)
Arafat was poisoned. Yasser
Arafat died of polonium poisoning,"
he said. "We found the
smoking gun that caused his
death. What we don't know is
who's holding the gun at the
It doesn't take a leap of faith to
hold Israel responsible. It bears
repeating. It had motive, opportunity
and expertise. It wanted
Arafat eliminated. It wanted
Abbas installed to replace him. It
rigged his election to assure it.
Nearly five years after his term
expired, he remains Palestinian
In 2005, he lacked legitimacy.
He has none now. He's Israel's
man. He's well rewarded for services
According to Barclay: "The
level of polonium in Yasser
Arafat's rib is about 900
milibecquerels. That is either 18
or 36 times the average, depending
on the literature."
Barclay believes proving who
killed Arafat won't be easy. He
died nine years ago. It's a cold
case. If his death was more recent,
"you'd have witnesses and
cell phone records, emails, bank
transfers," he said. Today, this
type of information is hard to get.
Israel is expert at covering its
tracks. It doesn't always succeed.
Arafat wasn't the first leader it
In February 2005, compelling
real time intercepted video and
audio evidence showed Israel
killed Lebanese Prime Minister
Rafic Hariri. Washington blamed
Syria. Assad denied responsibility.
Hezbollah was later falsely
blamed. Israel bore full responsibility.
It remains unaccountable.
Its rap sheet includes decades of
targeted assassinations as well as
crimes of war, against humanity
and slow-motion genocide. Palestinian
On November 5, Suha Arafat
got a copy of SR's report. "I'm
mourning Yasser again," she said.
"It's like you just told me he
NB: Stephen Lendman lives
in Chicago. This article is repro