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FACTDROP: Experts take samples of Arafat belongings, Palestinians await Tuesday's exhumation


Experts take samples of Arafat belongings, Palestinians await Tuesday's exhumation

Πηγή: Xinhua
Nov 26 2012

Experts took Monday evening samples of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's belongings for testing, a well-informed Palestinian source said, while Palestinians wait with anxiety the exhumation of his remains on Tuesday to know the reasons behind his mysterious death.

The samples were taken from Arafat's personal office at al- Muqat'aa, the headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority ( PNA) in the West Bank, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

This move came just hours before Tuesday's exhumation of his remains in the West Bank city of Ramallah to investigate into the death of Arafat in November 2004.

The source added that a meeting was held Monday between PNA officials and international experts in Ramallah, who agreed on the preparations made to reopen Arafat's tomb and take the samples of his remains. The remains will be dug up without media coverage.

Experts from the Lausanne-based Institute of Radiation Physics on Sunday evening secretly examined the grave, which was near the Palestinian leadership's Ramallah headquarters, Palestinian sources told Xinhua earlier on Monday.

Delegations from France and Russia will also join the exhumation and investigation.

Adham Manasra, a young man from Ramallah, said that opening the tomb and testing samples of Arafat's remains "is the only way to know the real reasons behind his death."

"I'm concerned that the results will lead to internal disputes and mutual accusations," said Manasra.

The Palestinians accused Israel of being behind the death of Arafat, who died of a mysterious disease in a hospital in Paris eight years ago.

Debates over Arafat's death renewed after the Swiss experts tested Arafat's personal belongings as part of a documentary movie aired in July by Al-Jazeera, the Doha-based Arab news network. The report cited the Institute of Radiation Physics as saying that traces of radioactive polonium-210 were found on Arafat's underwear and toothbrush.

Farid Abu Dheir, a teacher at al-Najah University in the city of Nablus in the West Bank, told Xinhua that looking for the reasons behind Arafat's death was too late and has been delayed, noting that the PNA should also go on with all legal measures to take Israel to "international criminal court for killing Arafat."

However, other Palestinians expressed opposition against opening Arafat's grave. Amani Abu Shamseyeh, a Palestinian woman from Ramallah, said "Let President Arafat rest in peace."

Munir al-Jagoub, another young Palestinian activist, said " President Arafat always said that he wants to be buried in Jerusalem, so instead of opening and closing, they should take his remains to Jerusalem."

"Although Arafat died, his spirit is living inside us. No matter how he was killed or how he died, our love to him won't be changed," said al-Jagoub.

Meanwhile, many other Palestinians believe the death of Arafat has become part of the past and the Palestinians "should pay attention more to their future."

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