The Palestinians, apparently feeling neglected since the most recent truce with Hamas and the other terror groups in Gaza has freed Israel up to focus on its own affairs, have decided to dig up the body of Yasser Arafat.
The decision comes on the heels of an expose by Al-Jazeera that reported “surprisingly” high levels of the radioactive element polonium in his remains.
Arafat died in a French military hospital in 2004. The doctors who attended him could not determine the cause of death, but his symptoms were reportedly inconsistent with the effects of polonium poisoning.
If, in fact, polonium is found in the body, we will find ourselves in the midst of a reality forensics procedural that any US network would kill for. And like any good crime show, it will probably contain a twist or two.
Israel, which flatly denied involvement in Arafat’s death at the time, is already the default suspect – even if at this point his death hasn’t been ruled an assassination.
Who gains? Well, the Palestinians were supposed to be moving toward elections. But recent electoral shenanigans in the Gaza Strip – that went woefully underreported in Israel – involved Hamas suspending the voter registration process, delaying a possible reconciliation with Fatah and pushing off elections indefinitely. Fanning the flames of hatred for Israel is a nice tactic to divert the Palestinian public’s attention from their leaders’ own infighting, which cheats the people of their due democratic process.
But they might just have gotten a tiger by the tail. We don’t know what tests on Arafat’s remains – if they actually go ahead – will prove. What if he was poisoned, but not by Israel? Do the Palestinians have an exit strategy? Or are they just counting on weeks and months of articles and TV and Internet features focusing on yet another thing that was taken from them?