Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki has confirmed that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is determined to further investigate the circumstances surrounding late president of the PA Yasser Arafat’s death in light of the allegation that his death was not natural, but rather premeditated by Israel.
He added that the PA’s determination to involve experts from Russia stems from the desire to involve a regional power that is known for its balanced position.
El-Khabar: Why did the PA agree to seal off the tomb of Arafat, despite the controversy that was raised?
Zaki: It is our obligation to approve and follow up on the circumstances of the case, simply because we — in the PA, just as all Palestinians — believe that this is related to a national symbol. Based on that, we cannot remain silent, particularly given the documented investigation and the confirmation by the Swiss laboratory that there are signs that suggested the historic Palestinian leader’s death was a premeditated assassination.
Therefore, we cannot be against taking samples from Arafat’s remains, since we are required to reveal the truth.
El-Khabar: This comes even though this truth may increase the tension among Palestinians, given that some believe that Arafat paid with his life for internal Palestinian differences.
Zaki: In principle, we are for revealing the truth. [Tawfiq] Tirawi, head of the Palestinian Inquiry Committee, confirmed that the committee has evidence that Israel was involved in Arafat’s death and has never hidden the fact that it targeted Palestinian leaders. Complicity of Palestinian agents in this assassination is possible, but Israel was certainly behind the decision to assassinate Arafat.
El-Khabar: Suha Arafat, the widow of the late president, expressed her rejection of the PA decision to involve experts from Russia in taking samples from Arafat’s remains. How do you justify the decision?
Zaki: In fact, we sought to involve experts from Russia because we need the support of a regional power. No one denies that Russia maintains a balanced role in the Palestinian issue and we cannot deny the Russians' scientific expertise. Moreover, we are confident that Russia will assume the role of witness.
El-Khabar: This means that you are determined to prosecute those responsible for Arafat’s assassination after confirming that the death was not natural?
Zaki: We do not want this issue to be a storm in a teacup. Thus, we don't want to make statements for nothing. The priority of the PA and Palestinian people is to know the truth. Based on that, we need to wait for the sampling results to make sure this is true, because our enemy is an octopus that knows how to obscure the truth.
In the event that the results are confirmed, we can then lodge a complaint with the International Criminal Court.
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