The Arafat ‘murder’ mystery

I was taken to task by a friend the other day for mentioning the “murder” of Yasser Arafat in the same breath as conspiracy theories about the death of Princess Diana and the Kennedy assassination. The idea that Arafat was murdered is far more plausible, my friend said.

The murder question re-surfaced last week when Farouq Qaddoumi, secretary-general of Fatah's central committee, claimed to have minutes of a meeting in which two senior Palestinians – Mahmoud Abbas (who replaced Arafat as president) and security chief Mohammed Dahlan – supposedly sat down with the Israelis and Americans and discussed Arafat's impending murder.

Foolishly, the Palestinian Authority then punished al-Jazeera television for broadcasting the remarks, by banning it from the West Bank (a decision it has now rescinded).

As for the murder allegation, the text of Qaddoumi’s document is 
here in Arabic and here in an English translation by Toufic Haddad. I have no idea if it’s genuine, though if a forgery it reads like a fairly skilful one. For discussion of its content seeThe Arabist and Egyptian Chronicles.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 21 July 2009