Israel says did not poison Arafat

JERUSALEM Thu Nov 7, 2013 5:10pm IST

Suha Arafat, wife of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, speaks with Reuters in Doha November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad

Suha Arafat, wife of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, speaks with Reuters in Doha November 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Fadi Al-Assaad

Related Topics

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Thursday it did not poison Yasser Arafat, making the denial after the Palestinian leader's widow said Swiss forensic tests had proven he died from radioactive polonium poisoning in 2004.

"We never made a decision to harm him physically," Energy Minister Silvan Shalom, who in 2004 served as foreign minister and as a member of Israel's security cabinet, told Israel Radio.

"In my opinion, this is a tempest in a tea cup. But even if it was (poisoning), it certainly was not Israel. Maybe someone else inside had thoughts or an interest to do it."

In the occupied West Bank, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization issued a new call for an international investigation into Arafat's death.

The Palestinian appeal was made after the Al-Jazeera news channel on Tuesday published a Swiss scientific report based on bone samples taken from his grave last November revealing unusually high levels of the deadly polonium isotope in his body.

"This matter warrants the formation of an international judicial body to look into it and hold accountable the perpetrator," Wasel Abu Yousef told Reuters.

"The one who had an interest in his death was the occupation (Israel)," he added.

Chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat made an appeal for an international tribunal over Arafat's death last year, when the Qatar-based news channel first disclosed the presence of the polonium on the late president's clothing. (Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Noah Browning; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

FILED UNDER:

Politics

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Exit Polls

Exit Polls

BJP unlikely to form Jammu & Kashmir govt - polls.  Full Article 

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Economic Pulse

Economic Pulse

Crank up public spending to revive growth - chief economic adviser.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan  Full Article 

Down Under

Down Under

Magic Johnson inspires Australia to second test win.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage