The latest episode in the new Was Yasser Arafat Poisoned? saga is his widow, Suha, has said she’ll file a court complaint in France (where she resides) against “an unnamed person” (which I think may just mean nobody in particular?) requesting that the authorities divine the exact circumstances of her husband’s death in late 2004. Palestinian President Abbas has already granted permission for Arafat’s body to be exhumed for purposes of investigation.
The latest speculation was touched off by a recent Al Jazeera report that claimed that traces of polonium-210, a poison not uncommonly used in Russia for assassination, were found on Arafat’s final effects, including his trademark keffiyah. Hussein Ibish debunked this theory in an article whose title, “Arafatuous,” pretty much says it all. And Amos Harel notes that Suha Arafat possesses ulterior motives for wanting this to be an issue now, and notes that a thorough examination could confirm some theories, such as that Arafat had AIDS, that she’d probably prefer not come to light.
Profiling the then-recently deceased icon of Palestinian nationalism in 2005, Tablet Magazine literary editor David Samuels wrote trenchantly,
Some of his closest aides and advisers spoke openly of their belief that he had been poisoned. Suspects in the poisoning included the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Jordanians, the Egyptians, and the CIA, as well as a team of cyclists for peace who had visited Arafat the previous September. Only the idea that Arafat might have expired from natural causes was deemed too farfetched for serious consideration.
Suha Arafat To File Suit in Husband’s Death [JTA]
Probe Into Arafat’s Death Could Open a Bigger Palestinian Can of Worms [Haaretz]
Related: In a Ruined Country [The Atlantic]