Yassir Arafat’s Body To Be Exhumed Tuesday
Eight years after he died, the body of PLO founder Yassir Arafat will be exhumed next week to determine if his death was caused by poisoning:
Ramallah, West Bank (CNN) – The body of former Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat will be exhumedTuesday and samples taken to be tested for poisoning as part of an inquiry into his 2004 death, an official said Saturday.
Forensic experts from France, Switzerland and Russia will each take their own samples for independent analysis, said Tawfiq Tirawi, head of the Palestinian investigation committee.
The tomb in the West Bank city of Ramallah will then be closed back up on the same day, Tirawi told a news conference in Ramallah.
Arafat will be reburied with a military ceremony, he said.
The occasion is likely to be an emotional one for many Palestinians who view Arafat as a symbol of resistance.
Tuesday “will be one of the most difficult days of my life because of many personal, national and symbolic considerations,” said Tirawi. “But I consider it a painful necessity. This is necessary to reach the truth in the death of President Yasser Arafat.”
Palestinian officials hope the tests will clear up questions over whether Arafat’s death eight years ago was the result of poisoning by the radioactive element polonium.
The Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank, says it is convinced Israel is behind any poisoning of Arafat. Israel has declined to comment on the allegation.
Francois Bochud, director of the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, said his researchers had found high levels of toxic polonium-210 after testing Arafat’s toothbrush, clothing and keffiyeh, the distinctive black-and-white headscarf he often wore.
The only problem with this theory is that the half-life of polonium-210 is less than 140 days, so how results from eight years later are any where closed to being relevant to the cause of Arafat’s death is puzzling to me.