Experts late with test results in Arafat death case

Palestinian officials say delay may be designed to prevent emergence of any issues that could negatively impact peace talks.

Yasser Arafat 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Yasser Arafat 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Swiss, French and Russian experts have missed their deadline for delivering the results of tests conducted on the remains of Yasser Arafat to determine the causes of his death, the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported Tuesday.
The newspaper said that the Lausanne Medical Center in Geneva had promised to hand over the results of the tests to the Palestinian Authority by mid-September, but as yet has not done so.
Informed Palestinian sources told the newspaper that there was fear among the Palestinians that the delay was the result of an “official decision” to procrastinate. Forensic investigators from the three countries took samples from Arafat’s body last November for tests to determine whether he had been poisoned by polonium – a toxic, radioactive element found on some of his personal belongings.
Palestinian officials expressed fear that the Arafat death probe has entered the process of a “differential calculus” between Western and Russian intelligence agencies, in wake of the Syria crisis and the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the PA.
The officials said that the delay may be designed to prevent the emergence of any issues that could have a negative impact on the peace talks.
The delay may also be aimed at avoiding diverting attention from the internal fighting in Syria, they surmised.
The officials also expressed fear that some Western intelligence agencies had intervened to block the delivery of the test results “in light of ongoing Palestinian allegations that Israel was behind Arafat’s death.”
Tawkif Tirawi, head of the Palestinian inquiry commission into Arafat’s death, refused to comment on the report about the delay. He only said that his commission was in contact with the forensic experts who took Arafat’s samples. Tirawi added that there were no hurdles hindering the publication of the test results.