Saturday, August 25, 2012

Swiss Forensic Experts To Examine Arafat’s Remains

International Middle East Media Center
by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies 
Experts working for the Swiss Radiophysics Institute stated Friday that they will be arriving in the West Bank to examine the remains of the late president, Yasser Arafat, after receiving the approval of his widow, Soha Arafat.
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Earlier this month, the institute received a request from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank in this regard, and the institute sent a request to Soha asking for her approval.

Arafat’s widow and her daughter, Zahwa, 17, signed on July 31 documents authorizing the exhumation of Arafat’s body hoping to find answers regarding the causes of Arafat’s death.

Mark Bonan, the attorney representing Soha Arafat, told the Swiss Radio and TV that Arafat’s widow is pushing for this investigation, and wants to the truth to come out, and added that “at the end we will be heading to Ramallah, we should be able to be there next month”.

Also, a spokesperson of the Swiss Radiophysics Institute said that the lab is waiting for an official written response from Arafat’s lawyer, adding that lab experts are willing to go to the West Bank.

The spokesperson said that the first visit will be exploratory, as the experts will be holding meetings with Palestinian Authority officials, and will be inquiring about the technological and scientific equipment in the area.

The exhumation, will be conducted in a second trip, and will include taking samples from Arafat’s remains to look for traces of polonium, a highly poisonous radioactive material.

Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, died at a French Military Hospital on November 11, 2004. On July 31st this year, Soha Arafat filed a lawsuit against “unknown” in France for the assassination of her husband.

On July 3rd, the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera published aired a documentary about the assassination of Arafat revealing that experts of the Swiss lab conducted biological tests on some of Arafat’s belongings, handed to them by his widow, and found high traces of polonium. The tested clothes and belongings were taken from the French hospital where Arafat died.

On August 3rd, Tawfiq Terawi, member of a special committee formed by President Mahmoud Abbas to follow-up on the case of Arafat, said that that Palestinian Authority will provide the Swiss lab with all guarantees and help, and that Soha granted her approval for exhuming the remains of her husband.

The Palestinians believe that Israel, that surrounded Arafat’s in his compound, in 2002, until he fell seriously ill and was airlifted to France, is behind the assassination of Arafat, especially since Israeli leaders kept labeling him as an “obstacle to peace”.

Israel also bombarded section of the compound and bulldozers other sections, in addition to cutting power and water supplies, and phone lines.

Israeli sharpshooters also topped several surrounding buildings overlooking the office of Arafat, and killed five Palestinians in the compound, including members personal bodyguards of Arafat; at least 40 were injured and 70 were kidnapped. Israel also said that two Israeli soldiers were killed in the attack.

The then-Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, said in a press conference that “invading Ramallah, and the isolation of Arafat is only the beginning of an extended military offensive that aims, according to Sharon, “at uprooting the infrastructure of terrorism”.

Sharon also described Arafat as the enemy of Israel and did not hide Israel’s interest in removing him from power. Several Israeli leaders also said that “Arafat is an obstacle to peace” and expressed explicit interest in getting rid of him despite a statement by the then-Defense Minister, Benjamin Eliezer, who claimed that Israel is not planning to harm Arafat.

While under siege, Arafat said; “they want me to become their prisoners, or wanted, or dead; and I tell them I am a martyr, a martyr a martyr”.