Skip to main content

Report: Investigation into Arafat's death to be revived

Though two separate investigations found that Arafat was not poisoned, questions have been raised about how the results were interpreted
PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat during a 1994 visit to Gaza after a 27 year absence (AFP)

A French investigation looking into the death of former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat is reportedly being revived, after the emergence of new information suggesting Arafat may indeed have been poisoned.

In December 2012, a French enquiry concluded that the Palestinian leader had not died of poisoning from polonium-210, as was suggested by an earlier Swiss finding.

The French conclusion was given credence by the results of a separate Russian enquiry announced in the same month, which also denied foul play in the death of Arafat.

However, doubts were cast on the objectivity of the Russian enquiry, which was alleged to be determined politically and not based on scientific evidence.

The Palestinian president died in a hospital in France in November 2004, after being transferred from the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian officials accuse Israel of masterminding what they say was an assassination of their president, a charge denied by Tel Aviv.

However, the charge came to public attention again when Swiss scientists explained in a recent article in the Swiss magazine Le Temps that that the differences between the three enquires – Swiss, French and Russian – were not in their results but rather in their interpretations of the results.

The Swiss have argued in detail that their investigation has been the most thorough out of the three, prompting a rethink from the French side, which has now reopened its own investigation.

The latest development comes amid reports alleging that a 'top secret' memo written by the Israeli intelligence in 2000 concluded that the "disappearance" Arafat would be beneficial to Israel.