FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Murder of Arafat

by SAM BAHOUR

“We have to get rid of Arafat”

~Israeli defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to Prime Minister Sharon caught on an open mic

Source: Haaretz (Hebrew)

“We operated against Ahmed Yassin and Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi [two Palestinian leaders extrajudicially assassinated by Israel] when we thought the time was suitable. On the matter of Arafat we’ll operate in the same way, when we find the convenient and suitable time. One needs to find the time and to do what has to be done.”

~ Israeli Prime Minister Sharon to Ma’ariv newspaper

Source: The Guardian

Yasser Arafat may be dead, but for all intents and purposes he lives on and continues to be a thorn in Israel’s side. Earlier this month a Swiss doctor announced that high levels of toxic polonium-210 were found on some of Arafat’s belongings. Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive substance, one that would require a nuclear reactor and expertise to produce and handle. Israel, being a nuclear power and having publicly expressed a motive for Arafat’s “elimination,” fits the description.

Swiss doctor Francois Bochud, director of the Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne, Switzerland, was quoted in the report on a nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera that “We have evidence there is too much polonium, but we also have hints from the medical records that this may not be the case. The only way to resolve this anomaly would be by testing the body.”

If exhumation and examination of Arafat’s body (currently reposing in its tomb, located a  half a kilometer from my home) seven years after his death reveals the presence of polonium-210, the question demanding an answer will be: who killed him and why?

It may seem a futile task to focus on a single person’s death when the region is engulfed in wholesale killing, until, that is, you realize that the killing of Arafat was meant to be an accelerator in the process of bringing about the wholesale demise of an entire indigenous people.

A Palestinian attorney in the Galilee has pointed the finger at those he believes are most likely responsible for the murder of former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. The accused are named and their histories cited; their own words indict them, and their acts of sustained violence speak volumes.

The charge sheet incriminates five of Israel’s top brass:

1-    Ariel Sharon, in his capacity as Prime Minister of the Government of Israel, 2001-2006 (currently reported as being clinically dead);

2-    Avi Dichter, as head of the Shin Bet (Israeli internal security), 2000-2005 (Member of Knesset for Kadima Party);

3-    Shaul Mofaz, in his capacity as Israeli Minister of Defense, 2003-2006 (now leader of the Kadima Party);

4-    Moshe Ya’alon, in his capacity as Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, 2003-2005 (now a Deputy Prime Minister of Israel);

5-    Meir Dagan, as Director of the Mossad from 2002 to 2011 (currently a leader of a movement called “Yesh Sikkui”).

The person who has made these accusations is Palestinian-Arab Israeli writer and lawyer, Sabri Jiryis, a graduate of the Hebrew University law faculty and a prominent Palestinian activist with Arafat’s political party, Fatah. For a long time, Mr. Jiryis served as Arafat’s adviser on Israeli affairs as well as serving as the director of the Palestine Research Centre in Lebanon and later in Cyprus. He was one of Arafat’s confidants for decades, until Arafat’s death.

Mr. Jiryis has just posted on his website a revealing analysis of the historic context leading up to Arafat’s assassination, entitled: Arafat’s Murder – The Crime and its Ramifications. The essay was posted in Arabic which may limit the non-Arabic-speaking world’s benefit from this insider’s exposé.

Bottom line: Mr. Jiryis meticulously assembles and presents hard evidence demonstrating why these five Israeli leaders, in particular, should be brought before a court of justice. His analysis offers no words of rage or revenge but rather a cold, clinical review of a systematic series of actions and statements by each of these Israeli leaders which would logically bring any objective observer to the conclusion that, if justice is to be served, these five persons should be charged with Arafat’s murder and put on trial.

Following the Al-Jazeera airing of their documentary concluding that Arafat may have been poisoned by radioactive polonium, Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat’s successor, ordered an investigation into Arafat’s death. In reply, in Cairo, on July 17, 2012, the Arab League set up an independent committee to probe the death of the iconic former Palestinian leader.

As the independent investigation committee embarks on its mandate, Mr. Jiryis’ analysis can make an important contribution by putting Arafat’s murder into historical context. Israeli leaders have employed murder, assassination and mass slaughter ever since Israel’s founding, and before. The reins of power in Israel remain in the hands of those who seek to murder the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence. Meantime, when Arafat’s turn finally came, the trail of evidence left behind was so glaring that it would be an insult to humanity if those responsible are not brought to justice.

Whatever happens with this renewed effort to determine how Arafat died and who was behind his death, the Palestinian struggle for emancipation from 65 years of dispossession and 45 years of military occupation will not end. The idea that Palestinians are going to wake up one morning and decide to enjoy life under Israeli military occupation or as refugees is simply hallucinatory, as any thoughtful reading of world history would indicate.

Historic twists of fate are unpredictable, with many ironic overtones. Maybe, just maybe, the analysis by an Israeli-trained Palestinian attorney together with the clues to be found in Arafat’s dead body will usher in a long-overdue era of Israeli accountability for crimes against the Palestinian people.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business development consultant. He frequently provides independent commentary on Palestine and serves as a policy advisor of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He blogs at http://www.epalestine.com.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah and serves as a policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and blogs at ePalestine.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail