When Yasser Arafat became sick and died in November 2004, the PA spread the libel that Israel poisoned Arafat. It is possible that the claim that Israel killed Arafat with poison was designed to connect Arafat with the Islamic tradition that Jews poisoned Muhammad, Islam’s Prophet:
“Aisha [wife of Muhammad] narrated: The Prophet in his ailment in which he died, used to say, "O 'Aisha! I still feel the pain caused by the food I ate at Khaibar [Jewish tribe], and at this time, I feel as if my aorta is being cut from that poison." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 713)
Indeed, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash made that very connection in a Friday sermon broadcast on PA TV. Al-Habbash preached that Arafat was murdered in the same way as Muhammad, repeating three times that Muhammad died from poison given to him in Khaibar - a town known for being Jewish in Islamic tradition:
"Yasser Arafat died a Martyr (Shahid) - we don't have the slightest doubt that they (i.e., the Jews/Israelis) killed him. One way or another, they killed him. Even Allah's Messenger [Muhammad] - they (i.e., the Jews) killed him with poison. When he was dying, he said to his wife Aisha: 'I feel the same pain I felt from the poison that I ate at Khaibar (Jewish village).' Poison that he ate at Khaibar. He continued to feel the pain until he died. 'I feel the same pain I felt from the poison that I ate at Khaibar.'" [Official Palestinian Authority TV, Nov. 8, 2013]
PA: Arafat died of AIDS
Countering the libel that Israel poisoned Arafat, Ahmad Jibril, Head of the PFLP-GC (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command), stated frankly on Al-Manar TV that the PA leadership is aware that Arafat died of AIDS:
"When [Palestinian Chairman] Mahmoud Abbas came to Damascus, I asked: 'What was found in the [medical] inquiry of the death of brother Arafat?' One [of the group] said: 'Frankly, the French gave us the medical report, and the cause of Arafat's death was AIDS.'" [Al-Manar (Hezbollah TV) July 5, 2007]
This information about Arafat’s cause of death has never been released to the public.
To give credence to the libel that Israel killed Arafat, the PA concocted an international conspiracy in which Israel initiated the murder plan, the US approved it (with certain conditions), and the French doctors who treated Arafat concealed the truth in order to salvage the peace process.
Investigation into the cause of Arafat’s death
In 2012, the PA decided to take samples from Arafat's remains to test if he had been poisoned. In November 2013, a Swiss and a Russian team published the results of these tests. The Swiss team concluded that the tests were "coherent with a hypothesis of poisoning." However, a member of the team also stated that "our study did not permit us to demonstrate categorically the hypothesis of poisoning by polonium." The Russian report concluded that "there was insufficient evidence to support the theory that Yasser Arafat died in 2004 by polonium poisoning." [Reuters, Nov. 8, 2013]
The circumstances surrounding Arafat’s death remain unclear, and tests have yielded inconclusive results. In response to reports about Arafat being poisoned, The Independent wrote the following in 2013:
"A leading British biomedical scientist says it is 'highly unlikely' that former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died in a French hospital in 2004 from a lethal dose of radioactive polonium... Professor Nicholas Priest, who formerly headed the biomedical research unit of the Atomic Energy Authority in Britain, told The Independent that, while poisoning by polonium 'cannot be totally ruled out,' the symptoms were very different from those of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London in 2006... He pointed out that polonium would be naturally produced in the bones of anyone buried as a by-product of the bones absorbing lead from the soil, a point, he said, that 'the authors of the report understand but the journalists do not'... Professor Priest said it was 'far too dangerous and scientifically unjustified' to calculate how much polonium was in Arafat's body on the basis of 'such tiny concentrations of polonium.'"
[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/british-expert-says-its-highly-unlikely-arafat-was-poisoned-8929762.html?origin=internalSearch, Nov. 8, 2013]
In March 2015, three French judges ruled that "it has not been demonstrated that Mr. Yasser Arafat was murdered by polonium-210 poisoning." The French prosecutor stated that there was "not sufficient evidence of an intervention by a third party who could have attempted to take his life." [France 24, Sept. 2, 2015] The French prosecutor also explained that the polonium and lead found in Arafat’s grave were “of an environmental nature.” [Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2015]
Despite these results denying any poisoning, the PA continues to blame Israel for Arafat’s death without any proof or backing for this claim.
The following are examples of this PA libel, in their own words: