´Polonium found on Arafat´s clothing was planted´ (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV LAPPIN 07/06/12)
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Analyst tells ´Post´ high levels of radioactive poison reportedly
found on Arafat´s belongings likely placed there much later.
The high levels of the radioactive poison polonium reportedly found
on the belongings of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
indicate that the toxin was planted on them long after his death, a
senior counterterrorism analyst told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.
Dr. Ely Karmon, of the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya’s Institute
for Counterterrorism, is a specialist in chemical, biological,
radiological and nuclear terrorism.
Responding to an Al Jazeera report published Wednesday – which said
that researchers at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne,
Switzerland, discovered abnormally high levels of polonium on
Arafat’s belongings – Karmon said that the half-life of the substance
would make it impossible for polonium to have been discovered at such
high levels if it had been used to kill Arafat eight years ago.
According to the Al Jazeera report, polonium has a half-life of 138
days, “meaning that half of the substance decays roughly every four-
And yet, eight years after Arafat’s death, the Swiss scientists
reported finding polonium levels of 54 millibecquerels (mBq) and 180
millibecquerels on his belonging, considered to be high levels.
“If it had been used for poisoning, minimal levels should be seen
now. Yet much higher levels were found. Someone planted the polonium
much later,” Karmon said.
“Because of the half-life of the substance, the conclusion is that
the polonium is much more fresh,” he added.
Karmon added that the Al Jazeera report raised additional unanswered
questions. Referring to the fact that Arafat’s widow, Suha, provided
the researchers with Arafat’s belongings, Karmon asked: “If Suha
Arafat safeguarded these contaminated materials, why, after seven
years, was she not poisoned too? She touched these things and Arafat
In 2006, ex-Russian spy turned dissident Alexander Litvinenko died
after being poisoned with polonium, according to a British
investigation. British authorities analyzed a restaurant, a cab and a
hotel used by Litvinenko to trace the poison.
“Did Al Jazeera check the home of Suha Arafat in Paris and Malta
where she kept the items for traces of polonium, as the British did
in their investigation?” Karmon asked.
Karmon also cited an article published Wednesday by the French daily
Le Figaro which, he said, reported that the symptoms found in
Arafat’s French medical file do not fit a polonium poisoning.
After Arafat’s death, “why did neither Suha nor the PA agree to
release the French hospital’s medical file?” he asked. (© 1995-2011,
The Jerusalem Post 07/06/12)
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