On Army Radio, Erekat Again Accuses Israel of Arafat's Death

The results of an investigation into Arafat's death are not due for a few months, yet Erekat continues to hope Israel will be to blame.

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Annie Lubin,

Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The results of an investigation into Yassar Arafat's death are not due for another few months at least, yet Saeb Erekat, the head of the PLO’s negotiations department, continues to harp on the false hope that the investigation will pin the blame on an assassination plot carried out by Israel. 

In an interview Sunday morning with Army Radio, Erekat again made conspiratorial accusations in regards to the death of Arafat, saying he was sure the former PLO Chairman did not die naturally but was killed, all the while implying that Israel was behind it. Erekat added that the November exhumation of Arafat's body will certainly lead to this conclusion. 

In a separate interview with Army Radio, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz rejected the accusations of Erekat, saying they are "blood libel that has no basis in reality and no place on Army Radio."

Arafat's remains were exhumed from his grave in Ramallah in November and samples from his bones were handed over to French, Swiss and Russian experts set to examine them for any traces of foul play. 

The exhumation was prompted by the alleged discovery of polonium, a lethal radioactive substance, on clothing belonging to Arafat. 

Results from the investigation are expected to be published in March or April at the earliest. 

Arafat died in November 2004 in a French military hospital, a month after suddenly falling ill. Doctors said the immediate cause of death was a stroke, but many Palestinian Arabs believe there were underlying causes that led to Arafat's death. 

“I think we need to know who gave the orders, who provided the drugs, and who were the elements to carry out the assassination if it’s an assassination,” Erekat said in an interview with WABC radio in November.