Monday, July 09, 2012

More on the Arafat assassination investigations

Helene Hofman reports on the Arafat exhumation in Palestine calls for international probe into Yasser Arafat's 2004 death Global Post 07/082012:

The liberal Israeli paper Haaretz ran this 07/08/2012 cartoon, which I actually find puzzling. Political cartoons typically express some viewpoint, but this one just seems to state the fact that Arafat's widow has requested his body be exhumed in a follow-up on the tests run by a Swiss forensic team suggesting that Arafat had be poisoned with radioactive polonium-210. Haaretz captioned it, "Eight years after his death, Arafat's widow wants him exhumed."

Longtime Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery seems to accept it as a given that the Israeli government murdered Arafat in his column Poisoning Arafat: Ariel Sharon and the Jewish settlements enterprise Redress Information & Analysis 07/07/2012. He writes:

Arafat's lack of proper security arrangements always astonished me. Israeli prime ministers are tenfold better protected.

I remonstrated with him several times. He shrugged it off. In this respect, he was a fatalist. After his life was miraculously preserved when his airplane made a crash landing in the Libyan Desert and the people around him were killed, he was convinced that Allah was protecting him. (Though the head of a secular movement with a clear secular programme, he himself was an observant Sunni Muslim, praying at the proper times and abstaining from alcohol. He did not impose his piety on his assistants.)

Once he was interviewed in my presence in Ramallah. The journalists asked him if he expected to see the creation of the Palestinian state in his lifetime. His answer: "Both I and Uri Avnery will see it in our life." He was quite sure of this.

Ariel Sharon’s determination to kill Arafat was well known. Already during the siege of Beirut in Lebanon War I, it was no secret that agents were combing West Beirut for his whereabouts. To Sharon’s great frustration, they did not find him.
Obviously suspicions, even plausible ones, are the same as proof. And the circumstances in Avnery's theory built on circumstantial evidence include his assumption that Arafat would have been able to produced an effective peace process had he lived. It could be alternatively argued that the years of corruption in the Palestinian Authority's administration under Arafat's leadership had seriously eroded his ability to deliver a peace process sufficiently acceptable to the Palestinians to be a permanent solution. But Avnery argues that such was the case.