• Use of Polonium-210 points to Mossad assassination
By Richard Walker
The discovery by Swiss scientists that the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned should have come as no surprise to some of his former associates. The only issue left is to identify the culprit or culprits. Some of the prime suspects have already been fingered by the Palestinians.
When Arafat was dying in a French medical institute in 2004, the Israelis were busy laying the groundwork for later claiming his death was by anything other than poison, especially the lethal poison, radionuclide polonium-210, also known as Po-210. It was used to murder the former Russian intelligence officer, Alexander Litvinenko, in London in 2006. Litvinenko was served a minute quantity of it in his tea and quickly suffered from severe diarrhea and vomiting. At first, he and his wife thought he had picked up a common virus. Within days he was in agony and soon after died.
Po-210 kills quickly when applied to a person’s food or drink. It is so highly toxic, it shuts down the internal organs rapidly and with devastating effects. In 2006, it took the best of British scientists to identify the poison used on Litvinenko. Britain’s intelligence community knew right away the culprit had to be Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, the FSB, the successor to the KGB. Only an intelligence service could have access to such a highly controlled substance.
We now know Arafat’s clothing contained high levels of Po-210 and the next step will be to determine how much of it was left in his bones.
Like Litvinenko’s death, Arafat’s was also swift. Arafat was flown to Paris in October 2004 with flulike symptoms and was dead within weeks. Many of the doctors who examined him were puzzled by his condition and the speed of his demise, yet there was no subsequent autopsy report.
For years, Arafat had remained a high Mossad target but was well protected by an inner circle, making it difficult for assassins to get close.
Many commentators have missed the fact that this is not the first time suspicions were voiced that Arafat was poisoned. In 2010, Farouk Kaddumi, who was an Arafat insider, claimed the culprits were Ariel Sharon, who wanted Mahmoud Abbas installed as a more pliable leader.
The Israelis are now publicly saying Arafat had many enemies internationally and within his own circle who had ample motive to kill him. They will not concede his most lethal enemies were right across the border in Israel.
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.