- Published on Wednesday, 04 July 2012 15:12
A recent documentary produced by Al-Jazeera has sparked controversy and gone viral on the Internet, primarily for its contentious thesis. The documentary What Killed Arafat? attempts to shed some light on the mysterious and much talked about death of PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat eight years ago. Arafat’s rapid decline in health shocked the world and gave rise to conspiracy theories that he had been poisoned by agents either belonging to Mossad or from within his own party.
A 9-month investigation, as shown in the documentary, reveals that high levels of polonium, a rare and highly radioactive element were detected in Arafat’s final personal belongings, such as his clothes, toothbrush and kaffiyeh. Polonium as it turns out has been used in at least one political assassination before, that of former KGB agent Alexandra Litvinenko, whose books exposed the role that the KGB had played in bringing Vladimir Putin to power through acts of terrorism and other foul play.
Suha Arafat, the widow of the former PLO Chairman, has now approved the exhumation of her husband’s body in order to allow further testing to take place, which, if successful, may be able to give scientists a much clearer understanding of the role that polonium played in Arafat’s death.
The investigation depicted in the documentary has the potential to stir up plenty more controversy if its findings can helpt o verify any one of the multiple conspiracy theories that surround Arafat's death. If, as many suspect, the Mossad assassinated Arafat then serious questions will be asked about the chain of command that led to the assissination and who within the Israeli political establishment ordered the killing and why. If it turns out to be somebody acting from within the PLO, a less common thesis, then questions will be asked about Arafat's political successors. However, the investigation can at this point only point to whether Arafat was poisoned with Polonium and not who poisoned him. So the last hard questions will still elude viewers. However, the possibility of merely confirming that Arafat was assissinated is in itself something that threatens to force the issue back into the spotlight at a time when Fatah is facing a very real leadership crisis.