Work began to open up Yasser Arafat’s mausoleum Tuesday, exhuming his body to determine whether he died of natural causes or was perhaps poisoned.
Interest in doing this arose earlier this year when a Swiss lab found polonium-210 on garments provided by Arafat’s widow Suha.
When the radioactive element was discovered in Arafat’s clothes, Suha called for his body to be exhumed and accused Israel of poisoning the Palestinian leader.
However, now that push has come to shove and the grave is actually being opened up, many members of Arafat’s family are objecting. According to Nasser al-Kidwa, Arafat’s nephew and a senior official in Abbas’s Fatah group: “We say openly that our leader, our founder was assassinated by Israel with poison. The overwhelming majority of the Palestinians are convinced of this.”
Yet Kidwa adds that this belief does not justify desecrating Arafat’s grave in order to pursue the evidence. Rather, he maintains, “There is no justification for this: we know the real truth.”
It will take approximately 15 days to open the grave and exhume the body.