who poisoned arafat?

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    Jordanian Times


    Mishaal accuses Israel of poisoning Arafat

    BEIRUT (AP) ― The leaders of two Palestinian groups on Thursday publicly accused Israel of killing Yasser Arafat.

    Neither doctors nor Palestinian leaders would say what caused Arafat's death after days in a coma at a Paris hospital. Rumours he had been poisoned by Israel had swirled for weeks.

    “I hold Israel responsible for the crime of killing Abu Ammar,” Hamas' top political leader, Khaled Mishaal, told Al Jazeera television by telephone, using the late Palestinian leader's nom de guerre. He offered no evidence.

    Mishaal referred to his own poisoning by Israeli agents in 1997 in Jordan. Mishaal survived only after Israel sent the antidote under pressure from the late King Hussein.

    “French, Arab or Palestinian doctors may not be able to find evidence” Arafat had been poisoned, Mishaal said.

    “Yes, death is an act of God and a man the age of brother Abu Ammar may die a natural death, but all the circumstances which we have seen in the past two weeks and medical reports indicate that brother Abu Ammar had been poisoned,” Mishaal said.

    Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, the leader of Islamic Jihad group, also blamed Israel for Arafat's death, not by poisoning but by the “inhuman conditions” Arafat was forced to live in while confined by the Israeli government to a compound in Ramallah. “Despite the poisoning controversy, I say that they [Israelis] had put him in inhuman and cruel conditions for more than three years. What President Yasser Arafat has been subjected to amounts to a slow assassination,” Shallah said in a telephone interview with Al Jazeera television.

    “Israel bears full responsibility for the crime against President Yasser Arafat and for the slow assassination over three years and a half,” he said. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad had opposed Arafat's decision to negotiate peace with Israel and had rivaled him for power. The two groups ― both on a US list of terrorist organisations ― are responsible for killing scores of Israelis with suicide bombings and refusing to accept the Jewish state's right to exist.

    Mishaal said Arafat's death was “a message to the Palestinians and Arabs that this will be the fate of anyone who rejects an Israeli settlement with Israeli conditions.” “There are suspicions and many question marks that Israel is the one which killed Yasser Arafat. Consequently, Israel today, by killing Yasser Arafat, has killed the peace process. It has killed the one with whom it has reached a settlement.” Hamas has been demanding a say in Palestinian decision making and a unified Palestinian leadership. Its demands had been resisted by Arafat's mainstream Fateh faction, the dominant power in the Palestinian Authority.

    As Arafat was dying, Hamas last week toughened its position, warning it won't stop fighting, negotiate peace with Israel nor accept a Palestinian leadership “brought by Israeli tanks.” Sultan Abul Ainein, Arafat's top lieutenant in Lebanon, also blamed Israel for Arafat's death. “I join those who said that President Yasser Arafat did not die from a specific disease. I say that President Yasser Arafat was killed at the hands of the Zionist Mossad with American blessing. Israel bears responsibility for the consequences of this crime which will be exposed by history,” Abul Ainein said in an interview with Al Arabiya satellite channel.

    Friday, November 12, 2004
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