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When Hamas occupied the Gaza Strip in 2007, its leaders claim that they found a letter dating back to July 13, 2003, addressed by Dahlan to then-Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz. According to Hamas, he said: "The fear now is that Yasser Arafat will merge the Legislative Council to withdraw confidence [from the Abbas cabinet]. To prevent him from doing that, I wish to see cooperation from all parties and pressure [on him." He adds, "Be certain that Mr Yasser Arafat has been counting his final days. Let us slaughter him our way - not yours." Was the Dahlan-Mofaz document authentic?
The recent revelations certainly add credit to it, indicating that somebody, probably from his own entourage, killed Arafat. Abbas was quick in authorizing an autopsy of the former president's body last week, specifically to ward off accusations that he too might have been accomplice to Arafat's murder.
In June 2011, Dahlan was expelled from Fatah because of repeated claims by President Abbas that he had murdered Arafat. In September, his house was raided by the Palestinian police and his private armed guards were arrested. In August 2011, his former party accused him of murdering Arafat by poison, long before the al-Jazeera investigation was launched. According to an old friend of Abbas, who spoke to Asia Times Online on the condition of animosity; "Dahlan is more dangerous than Israel!"
Swiss experts have been invited to the West Bank to test Yasser Arafat's remains for possible poisoning, the chief investigator looking into the 2004 death of the Palestinian leader has said.
Tawfik Tirawi did not give further details, but the lab confirmed that it had been invited. "We are currently studying how to adequately respond to this demand," Darcy Christen, a spokesman for the Swiss institute, said on Wednesday. "Meanwhile, our main concern is to guarantee the independence, the credibility and the transparency of any possible involvement on our side." The announcement follows weeks of indecision on the autopsy issue by officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA), the self-rule government that Arafat established. Their conflicting positions and hesitation triggered speculation they were trying to quietly kill the investigation.
Al Jazeera initiated the investigation and published the findings of the Swiss lab, prompting Arafat's widow, Suha, who provided the lab with his clothing, to demand that her husband's remains be examined. Saad Djebbar, head of the legal team for the Palestinian leader’s widow, said that further interference by the Palestinian Authority into the investigation would be rejected.
"Mrs Arafat filed a case with the appropriate judiciary authority in France. This case is about first-degree murder that started in Palestine, but was finished in France. Therefore the French have jurisdiction here. Mrs Arafat does not want the process to be hindered by efforts of the Palestinian Authority," Djebbar told Al Jazeera. Djebbar said that if the Palestinian Authority takes over the investigation it will be controlled by the PA, which would "prejudice the process". "We thank Abu Mazen [PA leader Mahmoud Abbas] for co-operating, but it comes too late.