Scientists have finally produced the evidence that Yasser Arafat was poisoned, using radioactive polonium. Traces were found in Arafat’s body and the surrounding earth (i.e. after dispersion from decomposition) 18 times higher than normal.
The documentation can be seen here.
Now there aren’t so many countries that have access to polonium, or to the techniques necessary for its use in a political assassination. Israel would be one of those few countries.
But hold on. Israel says it didn’t do it. Here’s spokesman Yigal Palmor:
There’s no way the Palestinians can stick this on us. It’s unreasonable and unsupported by facts.
And Dov Weisglass, adviser to Ariel Sharon, who was Israel’s PM at the time of Arafat’s death, is also adamant that Israel is not culpable.
All of which means that the threats Sharon made in April 2004, a few months before Arafat’s death, to kill the Palestinian leader were simple joshing:
I told the president [George Bush] the following. In our first meeting about three years ago, I accepted your request not to harm Arafat physically. I told him [in the most recent meeting] I understand the problems surrounding the situation, but I am released from that pledge.
The Guardian reported at the time:
Mr Arafat responded by saying he took the threat seriously, but would stand his ground. “I am not afraid of Sharon’s threats. He has a history of attempting to target me.”
Unwisely, many of us had assumed at the time that Sharon was intending to fire a missile, tank shell or sniper’s bullet into the Muqata compound in Ramallah to finish off Arafat. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given its track record, Israel preferred something quieter and harder to trace, as it has done so many times before.