New evidence suggests that former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned, according to Swiss scientists. The 108-page report published by Swiss experts affirms that testing on Arafat’s remains reveals the leader was poisoned with polonium-210, a highly toxic chemical agent. Al-Jazeera published the extensive autopsy report.
All indications as to who was responsible for the assassination point to Israel, who saw Yasser Arafat – the former leader of the Fatah political party, one of Palestine’s longest running political party who have openly opposed Israel’s existence – as an obstacle to Israeli hegemony over the region.
Yasser Araft was viewed by many Arabs and Palestinians as a freedom fighter, a staunch supporter of Arab self-determination, and a strong leader in the face of powerful western interests in the Middle East.
After being elected to lead the Palestinian National Authority in 1994, Yasser Arafat engaged in negotiations with Israel to bring to an end the half-century-long conflict between the two neighboring nations. Despite his work towards reconciliation with Israel, and even after receiving a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in 1994, Arafat couldn’t seem to mend relations between the historically bitter rivals.
When Palestinian land was seized by Israel in 1948, following the Balfour declaration signed in 1917 by the U.S., Britain and France, an immediate war broke out between Palestinians and Israelis. The ongoing conflict has resulted in mass casualties and drastic border shifts which has reduced Palestinian land by almost two-thirds of what it was prior to the war. It is said that for every 1 Israeli soldier who is killed, up to 10 Palestinians are killed.
Arafat was a symbol of progress to many Arab countries who saw his leadership as a force that could finally end the dispute between the two countries. Revelations of Yasser Arafat’s poisoning could do much more damage to Israeli-Palestinian relations than the culprits behind the assassination could have hoped for.