On October 29, 2004 Yasser Arafat is on board a helicopter. The man some call “The father of Palestine’‘ is critically ill.
An air ambulance in Jordan takes him to France. Israel agrees to this and for his return to Ramallah afterwards.
The Palestinian patient is taken to Percy military Hospital near Paris. French doctors struggle in vain with a “mysterious disease.” Arafat’s health deteriorates.
On November 11, 2004 the leader of the PLO dies aged 75.
Palestinians mourn as he is buried in Ramallah. Israel doesn’t allow a service in Jerusalem as Arafat had wanted.
Rumours had circulated before but they only gained traction in July, when the Institute of Radiation Physics in Switzerland claimed to have discovered an “abnormal amount” of polonium on the personal affairs of the Palestinian leader.
Suspicions of poisoning grow and Palestinians point the finger at Israel, as Tawfik Tirawi, the President of the Palestinian Commission of Inquiry on Arafat’s death said Tuesday:
‘‘Everybody knows Israel is behind the death of Arafat.’‘
But Israel denies this. In August euronews challenged Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev on this issue:
“It’s simply not true,” he said. “And I don’t think anyone is taking these accusations seriously. And I would remind the Palestinian side that all the documents concerning Mr Arafat’s health, concerning his medical treatment, all these documents are with them. Either with the family or with the PA government. And so I would say instead of cultivating conspiracy theories why don’t you just make everything public, that surely would clear up the matter.”
So what killed Yasser Arafat? The results are likely to take months, and even then if the cause was Polonium-210, eight year’s after his death it could be too late to detect the fast-decaying substance on his body, or to know who administered it.