The Arab League will demand an international commission to look into the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s death, its Deputy Secretary General Ahmed al-Sabih said on Tuesday.
The Arab League will hold a special session later today to discuss the circumstances behind Arafat’s death in 2004.
“The participants in the meeting will call for the creation of a neutral international commission to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation to find out who stands behind Arafat’s murder,” Sabih said in an interview with the al-Ahram daily.
An investigation conducted by Swiss scientists at Lausanne University has suggested Arafat may have lost his life as a result of polonium poisoning. It revealed extraordinarily high levels of polonium in Arafat’s personal belongings, including clothing, his trademark kaffiyeh (head scarf) and a toothbrush.
Polonium, a radioactive element, occurs naturally in the environment in minute amounts, but is extremely toxic when ingested at higher levels.
The scientists said they needed to exhume Arafat’s body to examine his bones and the soil from the grave in order to prove the poisoning theory.
Arafat’s widow, Suha, has appealed to the Palestinian Authority to obtain permission for the exhumation.
Arafat died in a French military hospital on November 11, 2004, and was buried on the grounds of his West Bank headquarters. There were rumors that he had died of cirrhosis of the liver, cancer and even AIDS.