Arafat grave dug up for probe of poison suspicion
Palestinian officials acknowledged Tuesday that they had a long road ahead and that the investigation could hit a dead end.
Tawfik Tirawi, the head of the Palestinian team, said the Palestinians would ask the International Criminal Court to investigate further if there is evidence of poisoning.
Later this week, Abbas is seeking U.N. recognition of ‘‘Palestine’’ as a non-member observer state, an upgrade that could give Palestinians access to the ICC.
Tirawi said previous calls by some high-ranking Israeli officials to get rid of Arafat were an indication that Israel was involved, adding, ‘‘we are looking for the evidence.’’
Former Sharon aides have argued that Israel had no reason to kill Arafat since it had already pushed him aside by confining him to his compound.
For decades, Arafat was the symbol of the Palestinians’ struggle for an independent state.
After returning from exile to the Palestinian territories in 1994, as part of interim peace deals with Israel, he zigzagged between leading negotiations with Israel and condoning violence.
Arafat, along with two Israeli leaders, received the Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to work toward peace with Israel.
He later presided over a violent Palestinian uprising against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the territories they seek for a state. As the uprising escalated, Israel confined him to his Ramallah compound.
Arafat also faced criticism at home, where some accused his political circle of corruption and the pocketing of large amounts of aid. But he remains a widely revered figure, and his portrait frequently appears in government offices and street posters.
Associated Press writers Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem and Dalia Nammari in Ramallah contributed reporting.