PMW Bulletins
The PA libel lives on: "Israel poisoned Arafat" - and the US helped
Share |
The PA libel lives on:
"Israel poisoned Arafat"
- and the US helped

  • PA TV: "Israel... assassinated and murdered President Yasser Arafat... when it reached him and poisoned him"
  • Abbas' advisor: "The Israelis killed him with poison. I have no doubt of that"
  • Op-ed in official PA daily: "They [Israel]... poisoned him... with a green light from the US"
 
 
 
By Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Maintaining its long-lived tradition, the Palestinian Authority continued this year to spread the libel that Israel murdered Yasser Arafat with poison. On the occasion of the 13th anniversary of Arafat's death, a PA TV host stated:

Official PA TV host: "All the signs show that Israel is the one that assassinated and murdered [PA] President Yasser Arafat in some way, when it reached him and poisoned him."
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Nov. 11, 2017]

The official PA daily also repeated the libel:

"The most prominent [Israeli assassination] was the assassination of Yasser Arafat with poison after laying siege to his headquarters in Ramallah."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 28, 2017]

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' advisor on Foreign Affairs and International Relations Nabil Shaath stated earlier this year that he knows for a fact - without "a millionth of a doubt" - that the Israelis killed Arafat "with poison": 


Al-Arabiya TV host: "Did [Yasser Arafat] die due to the consequences of the [Israeli] siege, or was he killed by poison during the siege?"
PA Chairman Abbas' advisor Nabil Shaath: "No, the Israelis killed him with poison. I have no doubt of that, not even a millionth of a doubt!"
TV host: "Why are you so certain? Do you have information?" ...
Nabil Shaath: "...All food came through the Israelis. They besieged him from outside. Every cup of water came through the Israelis. Every pill of medicine... You can check the water before you give it to him... You can check the food, but the medicines?"
[Al-Arabiya TV, Political Memoirs, Aug. 25, 2017]

A columnist in the official PA daily added an extra twist to the libel, saying that the US had authorized Israel's alleged assassination of Arafat. PA and Fatah leaders have voiced this allegation in the past, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.  

"Thirteen years have passed since the death of leader [and] symbol [former PLO and PA Chairman] Yasser Arafat. They [Israel] forced him to vacate the scene and poisoned him. The ones who were responsible for his treatment in France did not find the necessary antidote for his recovery from the premeditated murder, which was committed by the leaders of the Israeli ethnic cleansing state...
[Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon and the heads of his colonialist leadership are the ones who poisoned the Palestinian national symbol and murdered him, with a green light from the US."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul,
Nov. 11, 2017]

Fatah Movement Central Committee member and Director of the Yasser Arafat Institution Nasser Al-Qidwa also reiterated the claim, stating that Israel has "full political and criminal responsibility for the assassination of Martyr Yasser Arafat." He mentioned the "clear and repeated Israeli statements that demanded the removal of Martyr Yasser Arafat from the Palestinian political arena" as proof of his allegation. [Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Nov. 9, 2017]

Following PLO and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's death in November 2004, the PA created the libel that
Israel murdered Arafat, and PA and Fatah leaders have been spreading it ever since, as PMW has documented. Swiss, Russian, and French medical teams have studied these claims. In 2012, samples were taken from Arafat's remains to be tested for poisoning, and Swiss and Russian teams afterwards published the results of their tests: The Swiss team concluded that the tests were "coherent with a hypothesis of poisoning" - but a member of the team also stated that "our study did not permit us to demonstrate categorically the hypothesis of poisoning by polonium." The Russian report concluded that "there was insufficient evidence to support the theory that Yasser Arafat died in 2004 by polonium poisoning." [Reuters, Nov. 8, 2013] In March 2015, three French judges ruled that "it has not been demonstrated that Mr. Yasser Arafat was murdered by polonium-210 poisoning." The French prosecutor stated that there was "not sufficient evidence of an intervention by a third party who could have attempted to take his life." [France 24, Sept. 2, 2015] The French prosecutor also explained that the polonium and lead found in Arafat's grave were "of an environmental nature." [Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2015].

Despite these results, the PA continues to blame Israel for Arafat's death without any proof or backing for this claim.

The following are longer excerpts of the statements above:

Headline: "The 17th anniversary of the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (i.e., PA terror campaign 2000-2005)"
"Martyr [former PLO and PA Chairman Yasser] Arafat was accused of not making concessions that could lead to the signing of an agreement that outlined the character of the independent Palestinian state. On Thursday afternoon, Sept. 28, 2000, confrontations were recorded between [Palestinian] worshippers and young angry people and the occupation police, its border guard, and its special forces,
which broke into the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza in order to guard its defilement by the leader of the extremist Likud party, [later Israeli Prime Minister] Ariel Sharon, and a number of right-wing people from his party... The occupation escalated the type of confrontations, and its airplanes killed a prominent leader in the Fatah Movement, Hussein Abayat (i.e., terrorist, involved in numerous attacks), on Nov. 9, [2000,] after his car was blown up by rockets in Bethlehem... Later the rate of Israeli assassinations - including most of the Palestinian factions and their commanders - increased, the most prominent being the assassination of Yasser Arafat with poison after laying siege to his headquarters in Ramallah."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 28, 2017]

Excerpt of an op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist for the official PA daily
Headline: "Arafat who remains among us"
"Thirteen years have passed since the death of leader [and] symbol [former PLO and PA Chairman] Yasser Arafat. They forced him to vacate the scene and poisoned him (see note below -Ed.). The ones who were responsible for his treatment in France did not find the necessary antidote for his recovery from the premeditated murder, which was committed by the leaders of the Israeli ethnic cleansing state...
[Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon and the heads of his colonialist leadership are the ones who poisoned the Palestinian national symbol and murdered him, with a green light from the US."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 11, 2017]

Headline: "Nasser Al-Qidwa: Israel is politically and criminally responsible for the murder of Arafat"
"Fatah Movement Central Committee member, Director of the Yasser Arafat Institution, [and Fatah Commissioner of Information, Culture, and Indoctrination] Nasser Al-Qidwa said that 13 years after the assassination of leader [and] symbol [PLO and PA Chairman] Yasser Arafat, Israel's full political and criminal responsibility for the assassination of Martyr (Shahid) Yasser Arafat shouldn't be diminished - especially in the shadow of the clear and repeated Israeli statements that demanded the removal of Martyr Yasser Arafat from the Palestinian political arena."
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Nov. 9, 2017]

Official PA TV host: "Of course we will not forget that all these years an open issue has remained regarding the murder of late Martyr [Yasser Arafat]. Naturally all the signs show that Israel is the one that assassinated and murdered [PA] President Yasser Arafat in some way, when it reached him and poisoned him. But this issue remains on the agenda until Israel is put on trial and gives an accounting for this crime that led to the Martyrdom-death of President Yasser Arafat."
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Nov. 11, 2017]

In the interview with Abbas' advisor Nabil Shaath, the interviewer referred to "the siege." In response to the many suicide bombings during the PA terror campaign in 2000-2005 (the second Intifada), and as an attempt to destroy the Palestinian terror infrastructure, Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield in April 2002 - a large Israeli military operation - during which Israel also put Arafat under siege in the PA headquarters in Ramallah and invaded six of the largest West Bank cities.