Palestinian Authority officials plan to exhume Arafat’s body this week to try to prove that Israel killed him by poisoning with a radioactive isotope. International experts arrived in Ramallah to take samples of the remains of the iconic leader's bones and clothing for further study in European lab, AFP reported.
"The tomb will be opened on (Tuesday) and experts will take samples the same day within a matter of a few hours," Tawfiq Tirawi told reporters in Ramallah.
Experts believe that little will remain of Arafat's tissue and that the scientists will only be able to secure samples of his bone -- which may have degenerated into powdered form -- or threads of his clothing.
Some experts have also questioned if anything conclusive will be found because polonium has a short half-life and dissipates quicker than some other radioactive substances, AFP noted.
The PA’s determination to go ahead with the exhumation reflects their certainty that there is poison, raising the possibility it may have planted the isotope to frame Israel.
The PA is milking the exhumation for maximum media exposure. A reburial ceremony will be held with full military honors on Tuesday in Arafat's mausoleum at his headquarters.
"November 27 will be one of the most painful days of my life for personal reasons as well as patriotic, political and religious ones," the Palestinian inquiry chief said. "But it is necessary in order to get to the painful truth behind Yasser Arafat's death."
"As patriotic Palestinians, we remain convinced that the Israelis assassinated president Arafat, and at the inquiry level, we have evidence leading in this direction," Tirawi said.
Israel flew Arafat to Paris in 2004 when his condition had deteriorated, and he died at Percy military hospital in suburban Paris in November 2004 at the age of 75.
French doctors were unable to say what killed him and a post-mortem was never performed.
Eight months later, Al-Jazeera reported Swiss findings showing abnormal quantities of the radioactive substance polonium on Arafat's personal effects.
The experts who will be performing Tuesday's operation under Palestinian command originate from Switzerland and Russia. They will accompany three French criminal investigators who will also be taking samples back home to Paris.
Arafat rose to head the Palestinian Authority after a career of terrorism that began in 1948 with his gun-running for Arabs to fight the re-establishment of Israel as a Jewish state after nearly 2,000 years.
Biographers have stated that Arafat was born in Egypt, but the PA has claimed he was born in Jerusalem.
He carried out his first terrorist attack against Israel in 1965, two years before the Six-Day War and the restoration of Judea and Samaria and the unification of Jerusalem, which Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) later claimed as the basis for “resistance” terrorist attacks against Israelis.
Arafat was elected to the PLO in 1969 and carried out dozens of deadly attacks in the next decade, including the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, carried out by the Black September terrorist group that he created.
Arafat marketed his “resistance” movement with the First Intifada in December 1985, eventually winning international cooperation to convince then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin to shake hands with him and President Jimmy Carter in 1993 in a ceremony to grant the PLO autonomy over parts of Judea and Samaria.
The following year, Arafat and Rabin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 2000, after Arafat rejected an offer from then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak to take over approximately 97% of Judea and Samaria, the PA leader launched the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War.