ISSN 2330-717X

Arafat’s Death By Polonium, More On Israeli Pinkwashing – OpEd


I’ve published two new pieces today, one at on Yasser Arafat’s likely murder by polonium in 2004; and the second a follow up to my article against pinkwashing at Tikkun Magazine.  Regarding the first, Clayton Swisher’s Al Jazeera report that Arafat’s personal effects are riddled with high levels of polonium points to the possibility that the Mossad, under Meir Dagan, might’ve been responsible for murdering him.  The latest development, which isn’t reported in my story is that the PA’s Saeb Erekat has agreed to the exhumation of Arafat’s body “possibly in the coming days.”  This would allow scientists to test it for the presence of polonium.  A Swiss researcher noted that there was a better than 50% chance that if he was poisoned, they could prove it.

The question is, can they trace the specific signature of this polonium back to its source.  Most of this rare element in the world is produced in Russia.  But any country with a nuclear reactor can make it.

Erekat has also called for an international inquiry like the one investigating Rafik Hariri’s assassination to explore Arafat’s possible murder.  Such an inquiry might find the Mossad culpable, just as Dubai’s police found it responsible for Mahmoud al-Mabouh.  The resulting fall-out not only damaged the security agency’s reputation, it endangered relations with a number of Israeli allies like Britain, Australia, France, Ireland, and Germany.  Exposure of Mossad involvement in Arafat’s death would further isolate Israel as a state willing to engage in acts of official terror to pursue its interests.

So far, official Israeli reaction has been to call the charges of Israeli involvement “baseless.”  It will be interesting to track Israeli reaction to this story over coming days and weeks.  Islamic clerics and the PA have now each agreed that Arafat’s body will be exhumed and they will begin testing shortly.  Since Swisher’s original investigation took nine months, I’m presuming polonium testing will take some time before we have definitive results.

In the Tikkun article, I make the argument that human rights in Israel cannot be advanced piecemeal by individual ethnic group or sexual orientation.  Those who argue that Israel’s supposed stellar record in human rights may be celebrated totally apart from its record of human rights violations of Palestinians, ignore not only Israeli history, but the civil rights record of the U.S.

This article appeared at Tikun Olam

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Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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