The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has agreed to exhume late President Yasser Arafat’s body for examination upon a request from some of his family members, Xinhua quoted a spokesman as saying yesterday.The decision was taken a day after the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera reported that Arafat might have died of a radioactive isotope called polonium.
The report claimed that traces of the polonium were found on Arafat’s belongings. “There is no religious or political reason preventing the inquest and the exhumation,” said Nabil Abu Rdineh, spokesman for the Palestinian presidency. He added that President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the committee that investigates Arafat’s death to study the new information and evidences that Al-Jazeera revealed.
“The Authority, as it always has been, is ready to completely cooperate with and clear the way for an investigation into the true causes leading to the martyrdom of the late president,” the spokesman for Abbas said. After the report was aired Tuesday evening, Arafat’s widow called for examination of the remains of her husband. In 2004, Israel allowed Arafat to leave his West Bank compound after two years of siege to go for medical treatment in a French hospital. He died in France and was buried in the West Bank city of Ramallah without an autopsy.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, called for an international investigation into Arafat’s death, saying the query was a national Palestinian interest. However, Reuters reported that Israel, seen by many Arabs as the prime suspect behind the mysterious illness that killed the 75-year-old Arafat in 2004, sought to distance itself anew from the death of the man who led Palestinians’ bid for a state through years of war and peace.