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New Analysis: Truth of Arafat's death to boost Palestinian position in peace talks

English.news.cn   2013-11-09 03:43:28            
 • Int'l scientists said Friday that former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died of "unnatural" cause. 
 • Analysts said the truth of his death would boost Palestinians' position in their peace talks with Israelis.
• Earlier this week, scientists said high levels of radioactive polonium-210 were found in Arafat's remains.

 

by Saud Abu Ramadan

RAMALLAH, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- International scientists said Friday that former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died of " unnatural" cause, leading analysts to say that the truth of his death would boost the Palestinians' position in their peace talks with the Israelis.

Earlier this week, Swiss scientists who examined Arafat's corpse said that high levels of radioactive polonium-210 were found in Arafat's remains and the tomb's soil, but poisoning remains a hypothesis, not a certainty.

Meanwhile, Tawfiq Al-Tirawi, head of the Palestinian committee investigating the case on Friday accused Israel of killing him, telling reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah: "We say Israel is the first, basic and sole suspect accused in the assassination of Arafat."

Analysts said that the Palestinians are 100 percent sure that Israel is behind the assassination. However, they don't have any strong evidence supporting their conjecture and don't know exactly how Israel did it, directly or through some collaborators.

The investigation result was disclosed at a time when the peace negotiations are stuck on some thorny issues and have produced no tangible results. Analysts said that direct evidence incriminating Israel would empower the Palestinians' political position in the talks.

PALESTINIANS' OPTIONS

Osama al-Qawasmi, spokesman of Arafat's Fatah Party, told Xinhua that his party is to cooperate with Tirawi's committee by asking the French authorities to send medical reports from the hospital in Paris where Arafat received treatment in his last days of life.

"This will be our first step, and then after finishing medical and security investigations, we will go to international courts to demand punishing the criminals responsible for Arafat's death," said al-Qawasmi, adding that "all evidences indicate that Israel is the one that assassinated Arafat and we will sue Israel at the end."

Commenting the relationship between the disclosure of the mystery of Arafat's death and the ongoing peace talks, Abdel Majid Sweilem, a political analyst from the West Bank, told Xinhua that the two issues are completely separate, but also interweaved.

"The peace talks are one of the Palestinians' struggles against Israel. Suing those criminals in international courts would help boost the Palestinians' political position in the peace negotiations and will urge the world to put more pressure on Israel," said Sweilem.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will hold at the end of this week the 16th round of the U.S.-backed direct peace talks, which started in the end of July. No fruitful results have been achieved yet as Israel keeps its plans of expanding settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

LEGAL DIMENSIONS

Tirawi said that THE Swiss and Russian scientists' reports agreed that Arafat's death was unnatural. The French experts have not yet submitted their findings yet.

"What the experts have concluded gets us closer to the truth, but it's not the end of the way," Tirawi said. "We will not leave the perpetrator of this crime without an international or local trial, but only when we complete the revelation of the full truth. "

Farid Abu Duhair, a professor of al-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus, told Xinhua that unveiling the reasons for Arafat's death won't influence the direct peace negotiations, because finding the criminals may take months or maybe years."

"Right now, the Palestinians can't directly accuse anybody without clear proof and evidence," said Abu Duhair, adding that " but still the Palestinians can go to the international courts and take with them all what they have to ask the international court to help find the criminals."

Arafat's widow, Suha Arafat, who received early this week a copy of the Swiss scientists' investigation report, announced that she is preparing documents and will go to the High Court of Justice in The Hague to ask unveiling the actual identities of the criminals who poisoned her late husband.

POLITICAL BENEFITS

Some analysts believe that if the Palestinian Authority proves that Israel is behind Arafat's death, it can go to the international courts as a non-member observer state in the United Nations, adding that this would certainly boost its political stances in obtaining their legitimate rights.

George Juqman, a West Bank-based political analyst, ruled out the possibility that finding out the truth of Arafat's death would urge the Palestinian side to halt the U.S.-sponsored direct peace negotiations with Israel.

"Unveiling the results won't lead to the halt of the peace talks unless a large popular pressure ... urges the Palestinian leadership to halt it," Juqman said, adding that "as long as we don't know who is the murderer, the Palestinians won't be able to halt the talks with Israel."

Arafat died of an unknown cause while receiving treatment at a French hospital in Paris in 2004. Palestinian officials have hinted that Israel was behind the death.

Juqman and other analysts said that finding the real criminal for Arafat's death will not lead to a third Intifada, or uprising, but they agreed that it will help the Palestinians boost their political positions and stances on all levels.

Related:

Palestinians say Arafat's death unnatural, calling Israel "the only suspect"

RAMALLAH, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- A Palestinian investigation committee on Friday said that former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's death was "unnatural," accusing Israel of being behind the "assassination."

"We say that Israel is the first, basic and sole suspect accused in the assassination of Arafat," Tawfiq al-Tirawi, head of the committee, told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Full story

Israel is only to blame for Arafat's death: Palestinian investigators

RAMALLAH, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- A Palestinian investigation committee on Friday accused Israel of being behind the " assassination" of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Calling Arafat's death "unnatural," Tawfiq al-Tirawi, head of the committee, told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah that "We say that Israel is the first, basic and sole suspect accused in the assassination of Arafat." Full story


Editor: Chen Zhi
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