Did Israel Kill Palestinian President Yasser Arafat?
Intrigue–but by no means is this a new theory.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cleared the way Wednesday for a possible autopsy on former Yasser Arafat’s remains.
His widow requested the exam after a Swiss lab said it found elevated levels of a lethal radioactive isotope on the longtime Palestinian leader’s belongings.
The developments have reignited a storm of speculation over what killed Mr. Arafat, who died on Nov. 11, 2004, at the age of 75 at a military hospital outside Paris after decades of fighting with Israel.
Mr. Arafat’s widow, Suha Arafat, who rejected an autopsy at the time of his death, said she wanted one done now in the wake of the lab’s findings, first reported by the Arab satellite TV station al-Jazeera. In an interview with the station, she didn’t explain why she waited nearly eight years to have the belongings, including a toothbrush and a fur hat, tested.
French doctors said at the time that Mr. Arafat died of a massive brain hemorrhage—weeks after he fell violently ill at his West Bank compound.
Mr. Arafat had suffered intestinal inflammation, jaundice and a blood condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC, according to French medical records.
But the records were inconclusive about what brought about DIC, which has numerous causes including infections, colitis and liver disease. Outside experts who reviewed the records on behalf of the Associated Press were also unable to pinpoint the underlying cause.
The uncertainty prompted many in the Arab world to allege he was killed by Israel, which viewed him as an obstacle to a peace treaty. Israeli officials have vociferously denied any foul play.