What Killed Arafat?

Eight years after his death, it remains a mystery exactly what killed the longtime Palestinian leader. Tests conducted in Paris found no obvious traces of poison in Arafat’s system.
Rumors abound about what might have killed him – cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, even allegations that he was infected with HIV.

Tests have revealed that Arafat’s final personal belongings – his clothes, his toothbrush, even his iconic keffiyeh – contained abnormal levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element.
Those personal effects, which were analysed at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, were variously stained with Arafat’s blood, sweat, saliva and urine. The tests carried out on those samples suggested that there was a high level of polonium inside his body when he died.

The findings have led Suha Arafat, his widow, to ask the Palestinian Authority to exhume her late husband’s body from its grave in Ramallah.

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  1. On 27 November 2012, three teams of international investigators, a French, a Swiss, and a Russian team, collected samples from Arafat’s body and the surrounding soil in the mausoleum in Ramallah, to carry out an investigation independently from each other.

    On 6 November 2013, Al Jazeera reported that the Swiss forensic team had found levels of polonium in Arafat’s ribs and pelvis 18 to 36 times the average, and were 83 percent confident that polonium poisoning occurred, but Professor Bochud disagreed with this interpretation by Al Jazeera and only states that the poisoning hypothesis by polonium is “reasonably supported”.According to the Swiss expert team (including notably experts in radio-chemistry, radio-physics and legal medicine), on a probability scale ranging from one to six, death by polonium poisoning is around five. Forensic Biologist Nathan Lents of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the report’s results are consistent with a possible polonium poisoning, but “There’s certainly not a smoking gun here.” Derek Hill, a professor in radiological science at University College London who was not involved in the investigation, said “I would say it’s clearly not overwhelming proof, and there is a risk of contamination (of the samples), but it is a pretty strong signal. … It seems likely what they’re doing is putting a very cautious interpretation of strong data.”

    On 26 December 2013, a team of Russian scientists released a report saying they had found no trace of radioactive poisoning—a finding that comes after the French report found traces of the radioactive isotope polonium. Vladimir Uiba, the head of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency, said that Arafat died of natural causes (without explaining which) and the agency had no plans to conduct further tests. Unlike the Swiss report, the French and Russian reports were not made public, at the time. The Swiss experts read the French and Russian reports and explained that the radiologic data measured by the other teams support their conclusions of a probable death by polonium poisoning. In March 2015 a French prosecutor announced that his death was of natural causes, and the polonium and lead traces found were environmental.

  2. Would anyone really be surprised to find out the Israeli’s killed Arafat? Considering past Israeli action, (Canadian Gerald Bull, Hamas leaders, etc) it would seem par for the course; not just because who Arafat was, but more importantly, how those in positions of power, act with impunity, regarding any, and all actions as justifiable. With that said, these same type of people would kill their own, if it serves their purpose. (JFK’s assassination is the best example)

    • U missed out the Iranian scientists…

      • @a5230210516f6cdf42302cc0711505e3:disqus Yes, you are correct. Another in a long list of perceived threats to Israel. I guess the real question is if it could be proven they killed Arafat, would any sanctions be taken against Israel by the UN? I would guess not likely considering Israel had broken 64 UN resolutions, at the same time the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had broken 21. The U.S would just veto it. (that is my opinion) Take care, and live long and prosper conscience!