Arafat and polonium, a partial story

The New York Times today published a story about Swiss findings that the exhumed body of  former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat tested high for polonium (“Swiss Report Supports Theory Arafat Was Poisoned“). Note how the story by Isabel Kershner, works to deflect blame from Israel. There is nothing about the extreme difficulty in securing polonium coupled with the fact that Israel had access to the radioactive substance in its nuclear facilities. There is nothing about Israel Sharon’s threats to kill Arafat in the years, months and weeks before his death. These facts are found in other reports, but not in the Times.The story quotes Arafat’s widow as saying,  “I don’t know who did it,” and then Kershner immediately inserts this paragraph: “Ms. Arafat’s relations with the current Palestinian leadership are notoriously hostile.” This is a curiously oblique statement to include at this point; it implies that Ms. Arafat’s suspicions fall on Palestinian leaders, and it notably omits the fact that Israel tops the list of suspects. Kershner does report an official Israel denial, however, giving Yigal Palmor of the foreign ministry the last word in the story.

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