Palestinian Authority to exhume Yasser Arafat’s body to test polonium murder claim

Jean Shaoul

Photo: A Palestinian holds up a poster depicting late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during a ceremony marking the seventh anniversary of his death, in the West Bank city of Hebron, November 13, 2011. Arafat was followed by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). Abbas' mandate expired in July 2009. He has ruled the West Bank illegitimately ever since, on behalf of Israel. The demo in this photo may be seen as a repudiation of Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestinian Authority has announced that it will exhume the body of Yasser Arafat, the president of the PA who died in a French hospital in November 2004. It will investigate the cause of his death, amid claims that he was assassinated with the radioactive isotope, polonium.

Arafat fell ill in October 2004, but was denied medical diagnosis and treatment by Israel. The frail and elderly 75-year-old, lapsing in and out of consciousness, was flown out of the Mukata, his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. He had been under an Israeli army siege for more than two years.

Arafat was transferred to a French military hospital to receive diagnostic treatment. He died three weeks later from what the French doctors described as a massive brain haemorrhage. He had suffered intestinal inflammation, jaundice and a blood condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), but its cause remained a mystery. French officials refused to say anything more than that he had a “mystery blood disorder”, citing privacy laws, fuelling speculation that he had been murdered.

When Arafat was in hospital, his wife Suha is reported to have told visiting Palestinian officials, “They are trying to bury Abu Ammar [Arafat] alive.” But after his death, she refused to consent to an autopsy. The 558-page medical report on his condition was given to a male relative.

Arafat’s remains lie in a mausoleum in the Mukata, which is guarded by troops.

America Adopts the Israel Paradigm

Philip Giraldi

I recently read a fascinating article by Scott McConnell, “The Special Relationship With Israel: Is It Worth the Cost?,” which appeared in the spring 2012 Middle East Policy Council Journal. Even for those of us who have closely followed the issue of Israel’s asymmetrical relationship with the United States, Scott provides some unique insights. He observes, for example, that the result of the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel has been the wholesale adoption of Israeli policies and viewpoints by Washington’s policymakers and pundits. As Scott puts it, there exists “a transmission belt, conveying Israeli ideas on how the United States should conduct itself in a contested and volatile part of the world. To a great extent, a receptive American political class now views the Middle East and their country’s role in it through Israel’s eyes.”

I would add that Israel has not only shaped America’s perceptions, it has also supported policies both overseas and domestically that have fundamentally shifted how the United States sees itself and how the rest of the world sees the United States. This is most evident in failed national security policies, damaging interactions with the Muslim world, and the loss of basic liberties at home because of legislation like the PATRIOT Act. Israel and its powerful lobby have been instrumental in entangling Washington in a constant state of war overseas while at the same time planting the seeds for a national security state at home. In short, the end product of the relationship is that the United States has abandoned many liberties, constitutional restraints, and its rule of law to become more like Israel.

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