Live

Watch CBSN Live

Inquiry Into Cause Of Arafat Death

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia ordered an inquiry Wednesday to determine the cause of death of former leader Yasser Arafat.

The commission will take testimony from Palestinian and other Arab doctors in an effort to remove questions surrounding the Palestinian leader's death in a French military hospital last week, a statement from Qureia's office said.

In other developments:

  • Both Israel and the U.S. believe the key to reviving the peace process is a moderate Palestinian leadership that will stop terrorism, reports CBS News Correspondent Robert Berger. But Israeli analyst Mordechai Nissan has low expectations. "It is often the case, if not always, in Palestinian politics that extremism wins out," he said. The powerful Islamic militant group Hamas already has rejected an appeal for a cease-fire by interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
  • Dozens of West Bank settlers Palestinian olive harvesters near Nablus and clashed with Israeli security forces protecting them Wednesday. During the past several weeks, settlers in the northern West Bank have been stealing olives from Palestinian villagers. Eighteen Israeli youths were arrested Wednesday.
  • Lebanon's information minister called those firing Katyusha rockets across the border into Israel terrorists, and said they were responsible for any retaliatory Israeli military offensive into southern Lebanon. The government has erected roadblocks to try to stop the rocket attacks.
  • A report on the status of women in Israel finds that Israeli women have the highest average number of children in the Western world. The Israeli average is 2.89, compared to 2.5 in Turkey and 2 in the U.S. Only one in ten Israeli families is headed by a single mother, compared to one in six in other Western countries.
  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has invited Israel to take part in a series of multinational military exercises and anti-terror maneuvers, in what marks the first time the Israel Defense Forces has received such an invitation.

    The Percy Military Training Hospital, where Arafat died, has refused to publicly reveal his cause of death or hand over medical records to anyone but his widow Suha, who has remained silent.

    The secrecy has caused some Palestinian leaders to charge that Arafat was poisoned, though Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath has ruled out that possibility.

    Jordanian neurologist Ashraf al-Kurdi, who attended the ailing Arafat at his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah, has called for an autopsy.

    The commission will approach French authorities again. Rauhi Fattouh, interim head of the Palestinian Authority, said Wednesday a Palestinian delegation would travel to France for the investigation.

    "We've already presented a request to the French government, but this delegation will go to France to explore all issues related to President Arafat's death," Fattouh told reporters.

    He did not say when the delegation would leave for France.

    The commission, which will be headed by Health Minister Jawad Tibi, will also follow up with Palestinian, Egyptian, Jordanian and Tunisian medical teams "which did medical tests on President Arafat in Ramallah, in order to get the available information about the sickness of President Arafat, and the reasons of his death," a commission statement said.

  • View CBS News In
    CBS News App Open
    Chrome browser logo Chrome Safari browser logo Safari Continue