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Israeli Cabinet Voted to Assassinate Arafat Year Before He Died

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Yediot article of September 2003 recounts decision to assassinate Arafat

The Gatekeepers, originally a documentary film and now a book, continues to offer a wealth of inside information about the Israeli national security apparatus.  The latest tidbit an Israeli friend gleaned is this September 2003 Yediot article recounting the decisions made during an Israeli security cabinet meeting chaired by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon:

He Will Be Gotten Rid Of

The cabinet decision of last night to get rid of Yasser Arafat has no immediate impact since the timing has not been determined.  Sharon, who formulated the decision [during the meeting], preferred to leave the matter vague and indeterminate between expulsion or assassination.  The decision was supported by every member of the [security] cabinet except for Interior Minister Poraz, who opposed.

Within 14 months of this meeting, Arafat was dead.  It is about as clear as anything can be that the cabinet voted to give Sharon carte blanche to determine where, how and when to remove Arafat as a threat to Israel.  Sharon could choose life (in exile) or death.  We know the result.  It almost doesn’t matter whether Swiss forensic scientists can prove he was poisoned and by whom.  We know who did it.  We just don’t know precisely how he achieved the result.

There is a wealth of circumstantial evidence offered by an Israeli confidant of Sharon and others arguing that Sharon intended to kill Arafat.  This news report adds another piece to the puzzle.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Eli February 25, 2014, 7:20 AM

    Good reporting. Out of curiosity, does the word “khisul” not translate as elimination/wipe out rather than assassination? I realize I’m splitting hairs since it’s likely intended to mean the same thing, but perhaps some will find it slightly more accurate.

    • Richard Silverstein February 25, 2014, 12:14 PM

      It has a number of meanings, but in context & especially in contrast to the word “expulsion” it clearly means assassination. And yes, you are splitting hairs in this case.

  • ToivoS February 25, 2014, 3:58 PM

    It seems clear that Arafat was poisoned with Po210. There are only a few places where this material is synthesized and one of them is in Israel. In fact, it seems the toxicity was discovered there when an Israeli scientists accidentally killed himself with the stuff.

  • Uri Horesh February 25, 2014, 7:30 PM

    The Hebrew word ‘xisul’ literally means ‘elimination,’ but in Israeli political parlance it has taken the euphemistic meaning of ‘extrajudicial assassination of a Palestinian by the Israeli Government.’

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