The Arab League will be holding a meeting tomorrow to resurrect an 8-year-old controversy: the death of PLO leader Yasser Arafat. The meeting was called by Tunisia, which was once Arafat's base after exile from Lebanon, and where Arafat's widow lived until being expelled in 2007. Suha Arafat is ready to take legal action over claims that the veteran Palestinian leader died of radioactive polonium poisoning, her lawyer said in remarks published Sunday.
"Mrs Arafat has decided to lodge a legal complaint within the month," Geneva-based lawyer Marc Bonnant told Le Matin Dimanche newspaper. Proceedings would be in France, where Arafat died after transfer out of his Ramallah compound. He said Suha Arafat, who has said she favors exhumation of her late husband's remains, would press charges "against persons unknown for poisoning."
She won't be the only one hurling charges in the wake of an Al-Jazeera documentary that said Swiss researches found "an abnormal quantity" of polonium on biological samples taken from Arafat's effects that were given to the news channel by Suha. From ABC News:
Israel was accused Tuesday of being behind the killing of iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, the most official accusation leveled against the Jewish state since Arafat's sudden and mysterious death in November 2004.
"We are accusing Israel of killing Yasser Arafat and poisoning him," said Tawfiq Tirawi, the head of the committee charged with investigating Arafat's death, at a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "We are asking for a trial for those who assassinated and poisoned Arafat."
Palestinians have long accused Israel of being behind the poisoning of the 75-year-old longtime leader.
... "Israel was not involved in the death of Arafat," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev told Agence France-Presse. "All the medical files are in the hands of the Palestinians and it was not Israel who is preventing their publication."
The Arafat Foundation has now released the medical records online.
Arafat's nephew Nasser al-Qidwa, the head of the foundation, said there's "no longer any doubt" Arafat was "assassinated by poisoning."
Arafat had been in failing health for some time before his death; the cause of which is still listed as "unknown."
(Photo by Remy Steinegger/World Economic Forum)