Former PA intelligence officer Jamal Shabaneh has questioned the role of senior "front line" Palestinian officials in the death of the late President Yasser Arafat, Quds Press said on Saturday. Shabaneh, who claims to have a number of documents relating to Palestinian Authority corruption, alleged "most definitely" that Arafat did not die a natural death: "He was killed by Israel through its collaborators from within Arafat's inner circle of advisers and officials."
In his statement, Shabaneh asked why Arafat's personal doctor was not called to look after him during his terminal illness. He also asked who collected Arafat's medicine boxes and destroyed them after his death; why was Arafat's life-long bodyguard expelled at the last stages of his life; and why did the doctor who treated him at the end go to live in the Gulf immediately after Arafat's death was announced? Even after returning to Palestine, claims Shabaneh, the doctor was not questioned by the official committee looking into the affair, which was formed after Al-Jazeera TV's own investigation. "Why," asked Shabaneh, "was Major General Tawfiq Al-Terawi, the former head of the PA intelligence services in the West Bank, chosen to form this committee when he failed to carry out any investigations with the committee which he himself formed after Arafat's death?"
The former intelligence official said that Al-Terawi was "number one" on Israel's wanted list before Arafat's death, but afterwards was rewarded with a VIP pass to facilitate his movements through Israeli checkpoints and allow him to enter areas of Israeli sovereignty without advance permission. It is claimed that Al-Terawi met the head of Israeli intelligence, Yuval Diskin, at a time he was not the holder of any official position.
On the assassination of Major General Mosa Arafat, who was the head of the PA intelligence services during Yasser Arafat's life, Shabaneh asked: "Why was he the only 'strong man' connected to Yasser Arafat's family to be assassinated, even though his home was surrounded by security bases?"
In closing, Shabaneh questioned why the PA Public Prosecutor did not launch an investigation into the late president's death despite this being a prime responsibility. "As Yasser Arafat was killed by poison, there was a legal and ethical responsibility for the Public Prosecutor to launch an investigation. Why did he not do so and refuse to delegate anyone else to do it?"