Yasser Arafat death investigation


Was Yasser Arafat assassinated with Polonium, or did he die from "Palestinium" as Israel claims?


Awad Awad

After finding traces of a lethal polonium isotope on Yasser Arafat's clothing, the Swiss Radiophysics Institute said on Wednesday it will further investigate the cause of the Palestinian leader's death, but only if their findings are not used for political purposes, Reuters reported

"We have been invited by the Palestinian National Authority and we are currently studying the most appropriate way of responding to this request," said institute spokesman Darcy Christen in an e-mail to Reuters.

"Meanwhile, our main concern is to guarantee the independence, the credibility and the transparency of any involvement that we may have," Christen said.

The polonium isotope was discovered on clothing given to Radiophysics by Arafat's widow. 

In July ABC News reported Tawfiq Tirawi, the head of the committee investigating Arafat's death, saying, "We are accusing Israel of killing Yasser Arafat and poisoning him. We are asking for a trial for those who assassinated and poisoned Arafat."

Mark Regev, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman, told Agence France-Presse that "Israel was not involved in the death of Arafat. All the medical files are in the hands of the Palestinians and it was not Israel who is preventing their publication."

Polonium isotope was used to kill former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, a opponent of Vladimir Putin, in London in 2006. 

ABC News also noted, "The French report [on Arafat's death] said that specialized doctors were not able to find a reason or known illness that can explain the causes for the death," according to Arafat's former doctor Abdullah al-Bashir. "They said that developments in the illness could not be explained in the framework of pathology."