Yasser Arafat
Yasser ArafatAFP photo

In a sermon broadcasted on official Palestinian Authority (PA) TV, the PA Minister of Religious Affairs Al-Habbash said former PA chairman Yasser Arafat, like Islam's prophet Mohammed, was poisoned to death by Jews.

During the sermon, which was translated by Palestinian Media Watch, Al-Habbash said Arafat died a martyr. He added "we don't have the slightest doubt that they (the Jews) killed him...even Allah's Messenger (Mohammed) they (the Jews) killed him with poison."

According to the Hadith (a Muslim religious text of Mohammed's sayings and practices), a Jewish woman in the Jewish town of Khaibar gave Muhammad poisoned meat which killed him three years later.

The clip can be seen here:

Arafat died in France on November 11, 2004. At the time his widow prevented an autopsy from being carried out, but France opened a formal murder inquiry last year after an Al-Jazeera documentary claimed he was killed by radioactive polonium poisoning.

Around 60 samples were taken from Arafat's remains. Swiss experts have said their findings show a "moderate" possibility that he was poisoned.

PA officials responded by calling Arafat's death the "crime of the 21st century," and claimed Israel was the "one and only suspect in the case of Yasser Arafat's assassination."

Meanwhile Israel denies the allegations. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said to AFP last Friday "I will state this as simply and clearly as I can: Israel did not kill Arafat. Period. And that's all there is to it."

Furthermore The Independent reported last Friday that Professor Nicholas Priest, former head of the biomedical research unit of the Atomic Energy Authority in Britain, assessed claims of Arafat's polonium poisoning as "highly unlikely."

A side-effect of the case has been the increased falling out between Hamas and the PA. On Monday Hamas banned commemorative celebrations of Arafat after claiming to have been snubbed in PA commemorations.

The friction comes as a protest group has organized in Gaza named Tamarod ("Revolt") after the Egyptian protest movement which brought down former President Mohammed Morsi. The group calls for the replacement of Hamas.