Poll: Most Palestinians believe Israel Poisoned Arafat
A majority of Palestinians believe Israel poisoned late Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat, the AFP news agency reports.
According to poll released Tuesday by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 59 percent of respondents believe Israel fatally poisoned Arafat, while 21 percent "believe that a Palestinian party or group or a joint Palestinian-Israeli party or group is responsible."
Arafat died in 2004, at the age of 75, following an illness. At the time, his wife Suha refused to allow an autopsy. She later allowed investigators to exhume his body after traces of polonium-210 were found on clothing that she provided to scientists as part of an Al Jazeera documentary.
Recent analyses found high levels of lethal polonium in Arafat's remains and personal effects, with Swiss researchers saying the data lean towards the possibility of poisoning but French scientists ruling out that possibility. The Swiss research came under suspicion when it was revealed that Suha Arafat and the Palestinian Authority were funding the investigation.
The cause of Arafat's death in a French military hospital has yet to be finally clarified, with many Palestinians blaming Israel for it, a charge the Jewish state has consistently denied.
Hamas loses support over tunnel closures
The poll also showed a decline in support of Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules Gaza. It attributed this to "the continued political conflict between Egypt and the Hamas government and the continued closure of tunnels and the Rafah crossing."
Were elections held today, Hamas would win 29 percent of the vote, down by two percentage points from a September poll. The Fatah movement headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, which rules in PA-controlled regions of Judea and Samaria (Shomron), would gain two percentage points to reach 40 percent support.
The poll was conducted by face-to-face interviews with 1,270 adults between December 19-22 in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, with a margin of error estimated at three percentage points.