FROM THE first moment, I did not have the slightest doubt that Yasser Arafat was assassinated.
It was a matter of simple logic.
On the way back from the funeral, I happened upon Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Knesset for the nationalist Arab Balad party, who is a highly qualified doctoral pharmacist. We exchanged views and came to the same conclusion.
The findings of the Swiss experts last week only confirmed my conviction.
FIRST OF all, a simple fact: people don't just die for no reason.
I visited Arafat a few weeks before it happened. He seemed in reasonably good health. Upon leaving, I remarked to Rachel, my wife, that he seemed more sharp and alert than during our last visit.
When he suddenly became very ill, there was no obvious cause. The doctors at the French military hospital, to which he was transferred at the insistence of Suha, his wife, and where he died, conducted a thorough examination of his body. They found no explanation for his condition. Nothing.
That by itself was very strange. Arafat was the leader of his people, the de facto head of a state, and one can be sure that the French doctors left no stone unturned to diagnose the case.
That left only radiation or poison. Why was no poison detected at the autopsy? The answer is simple: in order to detect a poison, one must know what one is looking for. The list of poisons it almost unlimited, and the routine search is restricted to a small number.
Arafat's body was not examined for radioactive polonium.
WHO HAD the opportunity to administer the poison?
Well, practically anybody.
During my many visits with him, I always wondered at the lax security precautions.
At our first meeting, in besieged Beirut, I wondered at the trust he put in me. It was known at the time that dozens of Mossad agents and Phalangist spies were combing the city for him. He could not be sure that I was not a Mossad agent myself, or that I was not followed, or that I was not unwittingly carrying some locating device.
Later, in Tunis, the security search of his visitors was perfunctory. The security precautions of the Israeli Prime Minister were immeasurably more stringent.