Yasser Arafat's body will be exhumed. He was poisoned, they say. Besides the rather obviousness of the suspicion, for those who follow Middle East politics there is something quite intriguing about the timing.
It's been eight years. Mahmoud Abbas took over. Hamas became the other force, with the 'legal' Palestinian Authority looking for spoils from the UN. It became a wonderful opportunity for mediators and peace-makers to ask the precious question: Who do we speak to?
The fractured identity always poses an opportunity. Palestine has, however, been an outcast even where Arab nations are concerned.
So, where does Arafat's poisoning theory come into the picture?
He was under virtual house arrest. There was reason enough to inquire into his death then. Let us not forget that several attempts had been made to kill him. His miraculous survival was part luck and part careful strategy. No one knew where he was headed, and he altered his plans often.
His 'immortality' was an important aspect of the Palestinian issue. He had to be invincible; his fallibility was but a charming expression of offering the “olive branch” that angered many within Palestine. But he was no moderate, not if you look at his successor. He refused to bend. There is every reason for his death to have been executed with surgical precision,
According to a report:
"Switzerland’s Institute of Radiation Physics detected elevated traces of polonium-210 — a rare and highly lethal substance — on the belongings, but said the findings were inconclusive and that Arafat’s bones would have to be tested to get a clearer answer."
I fail to understand how a recognised lethal substance can render the findings inconclusive. It is also amazing that there are circuitous references to Israel. Is there a possibility to nudge that Israel might have nothing to do with it at all? Hillary Clinton, while refusing to speculate on "rumours" about the poisoning is scheduled to visit Israel to discuss, among other things, Middle East peace efforts.
Here the timing of the revelations become important. The Arab nations are in a state of flux. There are civil wars. Does Palestine qualify as a civil war? This is putting the cat among the pigeons. A convenient thing to do. No leader to be thrown out, therefore bring in a ghost.
Eight years later, it transpires that a section of the world might want Palestine to be a little more Arab, a little more diffused. Take the attention away from the West Bank to a buried man. Exhume his body and conduct an autopsy even as the scientists are not so sure about whodunnit. The people would object to it on religious grounds, but there is also fealty to a leader.
Ultimately, what really will be exposed? A substance. The purpose is cosmetic. Cosmetics work well as masks.