Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat died in 2004 in France after a long illness. There were rumors that he had died of AIDS. As could be expected, some said at the time that the Israelis had killed him. But his widow Suha forbade an autopsy, so the cause of death was never officially determined.
This summer Al Jazeera reported that a Swiss lab had recently found traces of polonium on Arafat’s toothbrush and clothes. Polonium is a potent radioactive poison, which the Russians had famously used to murder Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. (Why a Swiss lab would be posthumously testing Arafat’s personal effects for polonium remains unexplained.) This ignited the smoldering “Israeli poisoning” theory, and Arafat body has been exhumed; bits have been taken away for further testing.
The fact that this theory is idiotic has not stopped its racing around the world. The idiocy was clearly set out in Omri Ceren’s article, “Those Stupid Arafat Conspiracy Theories.” Ceren explains:
The minimum amount of Po 210 that’s fatal when ingested is about 50 nanograms (ng). Alexander Litvinenko, widely thought to have been poisoned with the radioactive element by the Russians in 2006, ingested around 10,000 ng, or 200 times the minimum lethal dose. That’s a tiny amount, but nonetheless there was so much Polonium in Litvinenko’s system that his sweat left a car permanently unusable and his house uninhabitable for six months. As a diagnostic matter, it was obvious to doctors he had been poisoned.
None of that was true for Arafat. Doctors couldn’t tell by looking at him whether he had been poisoned and he was not irradiating entire cars and buildings. So he would have had to ingest less Po 210 than Litvinenko. Let’s peg the amount at 5,000 ng, which is 100 times more than the fatal dose but still half of what Litvinenko ingested. As you’re about to see, the math works out in such a way that the actual amount doesn’t matter as long as it’s kept reasonable.
After having planned and launched Intifada II and been militarily defeated, Arafat died in November 2004. The Swiss lab had his clothing for a few months. so let’s round down to 7 years as the interval between his death and the tests. That’s 2556 days (one leap year) divided by a half-life of 138 equals about 18.5 iterations. Put everything together – 5000 ng/(2^18.5) – and the result is about 0.0135 ng of Po 210 that should have been detectable on Arafat’s possessions today. That’s 0.0000135 micrograms. Four zeros of padding.
If we double the dosage to what Litvinenko ingested, the amount left over today would double to 0.0000270 micrograms. Double the dosage again – so now it would be twice as much as received by Litvinenko, who was visibly poisoned and who leaked radiation across half of London – and the amount today should be 0.0000540 micrograms. There’s just no way to get a reasonable amount of Polonium left over because the denominator, representing halving every 138 days for 7 years, overwhelms everything else.
The conspiracy mongers, however, have found a solution. They simply assert that given how much Polonium was found at the Swiss lab, whatever the math says should have been the original amount, that’s ipso facto the amount Arafat ingested. QED. As Elder of Ziyon pointed out, that amount of Po 210 contradicts the only thing we do know, which is that Arafat died slowly in a not-obviously-poisoned condition. Al Jazeera has been trying to dodge the obvious point by blandly inventing the idea we just don’t know what Polonium poisoning looks like. The dearth of knowledge will be news to the Swiss lab investigator who flatly stated that ‘the clinical description of Chairman Arafat’s symptoms prior to his death is not compatible with Polonium poisoning.’
If polonium was found some seven years after Arafat’s death, the most likely explanation is that it was planted.
However, the fact that it is essentially impossible that polonium poisoning killed Arafat has not stopped the Palestinians from embracing, petting and fondling the notion. Indeed, they don’t merely accept that it’s true–they proclaim that they’ll believe it no matter what the investigation uncovers. Here’s what Jordanian doctor Abdullah Bashir, leading the Palestinian medical team, said:
If polonium was evident, we would have reached the truth, and if it was not, we would want them [the experts] to continue searching until they determine what kind of poison was used.
In a similar vein, Tawfik Tirawi, head of the Palestinian committee investigating Arafat’s death, said even more clearly:
Regardless of the results of the tests, whether they will be positive or negative, we are convinced and have all the evidence to prove that Israel has assassinated him.
This would be absolutely astonishing, mind twisting, front page news, except for one thing: we’re utterly accustomed to this sort of brazen indifference to truth from the Palestinians and their supporters. Long ago they proved, again and again, that they’re unconcerned about truthfulness, but very concerned about the propaganda value of their stories.
The propaganda value of this fairy tale would be quite high. Arafat, while a thuggish mass murderer, is revered by many Palestinians. The fact that he was not a “martyr” who had been killed by Israel must have been a nagging disappointment to many Palestinians. It seems they are determined to correct that oversight now.
A prediction. “Israel’s poisoning of Arafat” will soon join the “Jenin massacre,” the “Israeli murder of Mohammad al-Dura” and other myths in the pantheon of big lies Palestinians and their supporters shamelessly tell about Israel.