He was a symbol of the Palestinian people, co-founder of the PLO and Fatah, a self-confessed terrorist who for decades perpetrated attacks against Israeli targets in particular, and yet was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.
In November 2004, Yasser Arafat died, much to the relief of some, and anguish of others. The officially announced cause of death was a cerebral hemorrhage. But almost immediately there was wild speculation that something else had killed the arch-terrorist, and those rumors have persisted until today.
So what did Arafat die of? Some claimed he had contracted the HIV virus, while others insisted he was poisoned with a radioactive substance. In almost all cases, Israel was accused of having offed the patriarch of the Palestinian cause.
Last December, Arafat’s body was exhumed in Ramallah in order to take 60 tissue samples and finally gain some clarity regarding his cause of death. But since the exhumation, there has been no report or even an update from the international commission of experts involved.
Forensic investigators from Switzerland, France and Russia were all brought in to examine the samples and draw their conclusions. But until now, not one result has been published.
And that has only fueled Palestinian suspicions. Palestinian officials have suggested the results were not published because they would have a negative impact on the peace process. Some added that Western intelligence agencies had actually prevented the results from seeing the light of day.
On on official level, Palestinian leaders will only say that they have been in contact with the forensic investigators. As far as Israelis are concerned, there is no reason to hide the results, and they should be published immediately.