I’ve published two new pieces today, one at Antiwar.com 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.