Yasser Arafat Exhumed, Reburied

Former PLO leader Yasser Arafat's body has been exhumed in the West Bank city of Ramallah and reburied in order that it be tested to determine whether he was killed by poisoning.

ArafatThe NYT reports:

Mr. Arafat became ill in October 2004 after being confined under an Israeli Army siege and virtual house arrest for more than two years in the compound where he is buried. At the time, the area was seething with the violence of the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, and the Israeli clampdown.

He was flown by helicopter out of his headquarters and transferred to a French military hospital, where he died about two weeks later of unannounced causes.

The Guardian adds, of today's exhumation:

Before dawn, Arafat's remains were finally reached. A Palestinian doctor and foreign forensic experts looked at the state of the corpse and decided against attempting to remove the whole thing. The Palestinian doctor instead took only samples, which were moved to a mosque where they were prepared for examination by international teams from France, Russia and Switzerland. This time, the streets and rooftops around the Muqata were abandoned – although that did not mean there was no interest.

Many ordinary Palestinians have long believed Arafat was murdered by Israel, but they are divided over whether that warrants digging him up.

"He should have been left alone," said Munir Jaara at a coffee shop close to the Muqata. "We all know the Israelis killed him so what's it going to prove to disturb his body? It's disrespectful."

Ghada Nayfeh differed. "We need to find the truth. It was very suspicious how he died, just like that, under siege from the Israelis," she said.

There have also been rumors over the years that it was AIDS which killed him.


  1. Lee says

    I hope Israel did kill him if anyone deserved it it was this murderous thug. Now all that needs to happen is to push gaza off into the oceanariums and the Jewish people could finally live without having to fear those savages.

  2. Myackie says

    i wonder why the Israelis didn’t kill him many many years ago…why wait until 2004? don’t they know he died from AIDS? Arabs are so unbelievably gullible…they believe anything but the truth.

  3. Myackie says

    oh…and the article states: “The source said only a Palestinian doctor would be allowed to directly touch the remains and remove the samples” now that REALLY sounds like an unbiased investigation, huh?

  4. anon says

    I guess this is gay news because of the rumors he died of aids. Of course, they are not testing for aids, so no way to find that out now. At the time he died, his widow insisted he not get an autopsy, which was her right under French law, so the reversal must mean something. They might have cleared the whole thing up then, but they chose not to. I would not be surprised if this is part of the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah.

  5. Grant says

    Mention Arafat and some people — perhaps an over-privileged, impractical, right-winger, starts fantasizing about shoving two million Palestinians into the sea. Behind every snarling dog there is fear, so I guess if you think they want to do it to you, you will do it to them first. This is the morally inferior position.

    If any other ethnic group were collectively called “savages” would there be silence, as there is here, in response?

    In response to oppression and dehumanizing attitudes like this, the Palestinians have become so radicalized that Arafat in retrospect seems not really to have been so bad. After all, in fact, he was a Menachem-Begin-level terrorist. Not nearly as bad as we have now.

  6. Myackie says

    hey Grant…let’s say that i was walking along and saw a very, very hungry but sleeping lion…and then I started to throw rocks at that lion. Would you feel sorry for me? Or would you think I deserved whatever I got?

  7. Acronym Jim says

    Grant, by calling out bigotry here you run the risk of being sarcastically deemed “morally superior.”

    …Which was unintentionally ironic since it came from someone who took it upon himself to declare an entire diversly rich panethnic group as “gullible.”

  8. Grant says

    Your parents’ parents had relatives brutally killed by the Germans in World War II. They were killed because they were Jews for no other reason. Of course, Zionism seems justified; especially as Jews are enlightened, don’t kill gays, like classical music, fund museums and all that other socially desirable stuff. They are not like the unenlightened, unruly Arabs.

    Immigration to Israel is at an all-time low, and members of Israel’s Arab minority are having children at a faster rate than Jews. The long-term viability of Israel’s identity as a predominantly Jewish state is in question.

    The only way to buy time is to become a reactionary, militaristic state willing to implement a nuclear solution if need be. “Better we destroy everything than give them back what they had in 1967.”

    Could this all be resolved in the comments section of Towleroad?

    F*ck you guys. I’m going back to the celebrity news. Retirement sucks!

  9. Grant says

    As a follow-up, France, which disavows any historical complicity with Nazi Germany, has announced that it is voting in the UN this week for recognition of a Palestinian state.

    Things move more quickly nowadays. Ask Hosni Mubarek and Moammar Qaddhafi.

    Won’t someone please negotiate?

  10. Myackie says

    I think at last count “palestinians” have been offered their own state 5 times and rejected each one…I don’t put much hope in their publicity stunts.

  11. Diogenes Arktos says

    The proximate impetus for the exhumation is a recent Al-Jazeera film which “proves” that Arafat was poisoned by the Israelis based on man-made polonium being found on his clothing by the Swiss. (Of course, there was no valid chain of custody of the material. But let’s not let facts get in our way.)

    @Myackie: The best chance for a two-state solution was 1948, but the rest of the Arab “community” cynically hung the Palestinians out to dry.

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