Yasser Arafat

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Person.png Yasser Arafat NNDBRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(Freedom Fighter, “Terrorist”, Politician)
Yasser Arafat.jpg
Yasser Arafat speaking at the World Economic Forum, 28 January 2001
BornMohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa
24 August 1929
Cairo, Egypt
Died11 November 2004 (Age 75)
Clamart, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Cause of death
polonium, poisoning
ChildrenZahwa Arafat (born 1995)
SpouseSuha Arafat
Victim ofpremature death
Leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization for 35 years

Employment.png President,  Palestinian National Authority

In office
5 July 1994 - 11 November 2004

Employment.png Chairman,  Palestine Liberation Organisation

In office
4 February 1969 - 29 October 2004

Yasser Arafat was leader of the Fatah paramilitary group and political party, formerly the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, before becoming Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1969 and later President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) until his death on 11 November 2004.

Arafat spent his life dedicated to fighting Israel and to the establishment of an independent Palestine.

Following the signing of the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords, Arafat was awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize together with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Shimon Peres.[1]

Mystery illness

The first reports of Yasser Arafat's failing health by his doctors for what his spokesman said was 'flu came on 25 October 2004, after he vomited during a staff meeting. His condition soon deteriorated and[2] following visits by other doctors, including teams from Tunisia, Jordan, and Egypt—and agreement by Israel to allow him to travel—Arafat was taken to France on a French government jet, and was admitted to the Percy military hospital in Clamart, a suburb of Paris.[3][4] By 3 November 2004, he had lapsed into a gradually deepening coma.[5]


Arafat was pronounced dead at 03:30 UTC on 11 November 2004 at the age of 75 of what French doctors called a massive hemorrhagic cerebrovascular accident (hemorrhagic stroke).[6][7] Initially, Arafat's medical records were withheld by senior Palestinian officials, and Arafat's wife refused an autopsy.[8] French doctors also said that Arafat suffered from a blood condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, although it is inconclusive what brought about the condition.[9][10] When Arafat's death was announced, the Palestinian people went into a state of mourning, with Qur'anic mourning prayers emitted from mosque loudspeakers throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and tyres burned in the streets.[11] The PNA and refugee camps in Lebanon declared 40 days of mourning.[12][13]


On 11 November 2004, a French Army honour guard held a brief ceremony for Arafat, with his coffin draped in a Palestinian flag. A military band played the French and Palestinian national anthems, and a Chopin funeral march.[14] French President Jacques Chirac stood alone beside Arafat's coffin for about ten minutes in a last show of respect for Arafat, whom he hailed as "a man of courage".[15] The next day, Arafat's body was flown from Paris aboard a French Air Force transport plane to Cairo, Egypt for a brief military funeral there, attended by several heads of state, prime ministers and foreign ministers.[16]


Israel refused Arafat's wish to be buried near the Al-Aqsa Mosque or anywhere in Jerusalem, citing security concerns.[17] Israel also feared that his burial would strengthen Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem.[18] Following the Cairo procession, Arafat was "temporarily" buried within the Mukataa in Ramallah; tens of thousands of Palestinians attended the ceremony. Arafat was buried in a stone, rather than wooden, coffin, and Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat said that Arafat would be reburied in East Jerusalem following the establishment of a Palestinian state. On 10 November 2007, prior to the third anniversary of Arafat's death, President Mahmoud Abbas unveiled a mausoleum for Arafat near his tomb in commemoration.[19]

Polonium poisoning

In November 2013, researchers in Switzerland released a report revealing that tests conducted on Arafat's remains and some of his belongings support the theory that he was poisoned.[20] Evidence from the report suggested that radioactive Polonium had been used. Suha Arafat, Yasser Arafat's widow, supported the findings in media interviews as proof of Arafat's murder in 2004.

On 21 January 2016, when Sir Robert Owen's report into the Polonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 was published, British politician George Galloway was interviewed on BBC Newsnight and declared:

"I was at Yasser Arafat's bedside in France when he died of Polonium-210 poisoning."[21]

Israel's history with Polonium

In 1957 several of Israel's nuclear scientists were contaminated by Polonium and died (some decades later) in the country's first known accident.

According to the book "The Bomb in the Basement: How Israel Went Nuclear and What That Means for the World" by Michael Karpin, in 1957 a leak was discovered at a Weizmann Institute laboratory operated by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).

Traces of polonium 210 were found on the hands of Prof. Dror Sadeh, a 24 year old physicist who researched radioactive materials, as well as on various objects in the professor’s home. The AEC handled the accident with deep secrecy. After a short investigation, whose results were not presented to even the workers, the lab was hermetically sealed for several months.

A month after the lab closed, a physics student died of leukemia.[22] A few years later, Prof. Yehuda Wolfson, Sadeh’s direct supervisor, also died, and Prof. Amos de Shalit, the department’s director, died of cancer in 1969 at age 43.

Sadeh went on to become a renowned astrophysicist and achieved global fame only a few years after the accident in 1962 when he helped prove a fundamental assumption of Einstein's theory of relativity, that the speed of light is constant.[23]

The Israeli authorities did not admit that the leak and the deaths were connected, but, according to Karpin's book and a 2006 (ie 49 years later) article in Maariv, people close to Sadeh confirmed that the state took responsibility for the accident and compensated his family.

Karpin theorises that the discovery of the toxicity of Polonium was kept secret because it was potentially so useful - as the Russians knew about and which they are believed to have used in 2006 to kill Litvinenko in London.[24]

Arafat "had HIV" theory

Arafat was alleged by two paid pro-Israel operatives (Josh Block formerly with Aipac and and Lenny Ben David of the Israeli embassy) to have been a "sexual deviant" and to have died of AIDS. These smears were published in the "The Times of Israel". The HIV claim seems to have been untrue (Arafat was tested twice) and the gay sex smear comes from a post-1989 "smutty book" by Ceausescu's ex-secret police chief who defected to the west.[25]

These allegations may explain why no autopsy was done on Arafat's body after his death (though Suha claims she was never asked), Arafat's nearest may have been afraid of what they might discover.

Richard Silverstein points to other suspicious behaviour by Israeli sources, a doctor of Political Science (and colonel in the IDF) claiming that Polonium deteriorates so quickly that no traces of it could remain after eight years and a tame neocons’ favorite Arab claiming that Arafat's symptoms were inconsistent with polonium poisoning (only partly true, yes to the diarrhea, no to the hair loss).[26]

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  1. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/arafat.html
  2. http://www.tqnyc.org/NYC052021/Government/GovernmentPage.html
  3. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4005027.stm
  4. http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/2.294/what-killed-yasser-arafat-1.373131
  5. http://www.volokh.com/posts/chain_1100148783.shtml
  6. http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/393851/hospitalization-report-english.pdf
  7. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57466369/palestinians-may-exhume-yasser-arafats-body-for-tests/
  8. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/08/international/middleeast/08arafat.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all%7Caccessdate=12 July 2012
  9. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/9396397/Yasser-Arafat-medical-records-show-health-was-blamed-on-gastroenteritis.html
  10. http://news.yahoo.com/arafat-medical-file-released-death-probe-190907751.html
  11. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-325827/Chaos-Arafat-burial-West-Bank.html
  12. {http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4005027.stm
  13. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C03E5DD173FF930A25752C1A9629C8B63%7Ctitle=The Death of Arafat: An Emotion-Driven Flock Storms the Burial Ceremony
  14. http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1348445,00.html
  15. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/11/international/middleeast/11cnd-araf.html?pagewanted=2
  16. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4003463.stm%7C
  17. https://web.archive.org/web/20050203020833/http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/11/7/113931.shtml%7Carchivedate=2005-02-03
  18. http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2004-11-08-arafat-grave_x.htm%7Ctitle=Grave site for Arafat is another point of contention
  19. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7088743.stm
  20. https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/arafat-and-litvinenko-an-interesting-turn-to-a-mysterious-story/ Arafat and Litvinenko: an Interesting Turn to a Mysterious Story!
  21. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0om8ii5XVs "George Galloway and Alex Goldfarb on Litvinenko Inquiry - BBC Newsnight"
  22. http://www.armagedon.org.il/dimona_english.htm The Dimona Plutonium Nuclear Reactor Death of Yonathan Ramberg, Sadeh quoted on the accident.
  23. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1993-10-19/news/9310190134_1_sadeh-light-is-constant-dror Obituary of Professor Dror Sadeh] Polonium accident age 24, died of cancer age 60. Orlando Sentinel 19th Oct 1993.
  24. http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2012/07/07/israels-lethal-history-with-polonium/ Israel’s Lethal History with Polonium] Richard Silverstein.com, JULY 7, 2012
  25. http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2012/07/07/israels-lethal-history-with-polonium/ Israel’s Lethal History with Polonium] Richard Silverstein.com, JULY 7, 2012
  26. http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2012/07/07/israels-lethal-history-with-polonium/ Israel’s Lethal History with Polonium] Richard Silverstein.com, JULY 7, 2012