Leaked documents regarding Arafat's death 'reveal' late Palestinian leader's animosity to Mahmoud Abbas
Hundreds of documents regarding the death of late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat have been leaked over the previous week, stirring controversy in Palestine and leading to arguments among Palestinian officials.
According to reports in Israeli media, the leaked documents allege Arafat had a strong dislike of current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and believed the latter was plotting to overthrow him.
The source of the leaks is still unknown. Israeli media reported that they say that Arafat was convinced that Palestinian President Abbas was conspiring against him in collaboration with Israel and the US.
Arafat died in a French hospital in 2004 and Palestinians marked the 18th anniversary of his death this week.
There is a widespread belief among Palestinians that he was poisoned although this has never been conclusively proved.
Palestinian officials have refused to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents, which consist mainly of testimonies given before a special commission set up by the Palestinian Authority to investigate Arafat’s death 18 years ago.
The commission is reportedly trying to uncover who leaked them.
There were reports that opponents of Abbas within the Palestinian Fatah movement which he leads have purposefully leaked the documents to harm the president.
The commission of inquiry, which has never published its findings on Arafat’s death, is headed by Tawfik al-Tirawi, a vocal critic of Abbas.
"I am absolutely convinced that the leaks are more to do with the internal dispute [in Fatah] than the assassination of Yasser Arafat," the late leader’s nephew and Fatah official Nasser al-Kidwa told the The New Arab’s sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
"My position from the beginning regarding the assassination of Yasser Arafat has not changed, and it is the full responsibility of the Israeli occupation, and any other words are a dissolution of this fact," he added.
Al-Kidwa blamed Abbas for not establishing a proper investigative committee to look into Arafat’s death after all these years.