Mahmoud Abbas claims to know who killed Yasser Arafat, who died 12 years ago Friday under mysterious circumstances
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he knows the person responsible for the death of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died under mysterious circumstances exactly 12 years ago.
Abbas made the assertion in an address delivered at a Thursday ceremony organized by the Palestinian Fatah movement to commemorate the 12th anniversary of Arafat’s death.
"The investigation into Arafat’s death is ongoing," he said. "While I know who is responsible, my word alone isn’t enough."
"The investigation committee will find out the details and reveal the names of the perpetrators at the right time," he stated.
Abbas added: "You will be shocked by the result [of the investigation] and the actors who stand behind the crime."
On Nov. 11, 2004, Arafat died in France -- under highly suspicious circumstances -- at the age of 75. The exact cause of his death has never been decisively determined.
Abbas went on to assert that the Palestinian Liberation Organization was the "sole representative of the Palestinian people", adding: "We are committed to longstanding Palestinian demands with a view to establishing a [Palestinian] state."
With regard to the moribund peace process, Abbas said he wanted a final peace settlement with Israel based on "justice and equality" upon which a Palestinian state -- with East Jerusalem as its capital -- might be established.
"We also reiterate that [Israeli] settlement-building [on expropriated Palestinian land] is illegal and we will no longer accept it," he added.
"Israel evades the peace process and the implementation of signed agreements," Abbas contended. "We’ve looked for other alternatives and hope the upcoming peace conference in Paris will be a success."
"Israel wants bilateral negotiations," he said. "We have tried such negotiations before and they didn’t succeed. There must be an international arbitrator."
Abbas went on to stress that the Palestinian leadership was still seeking full UN membership and hoped to submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council that would condemn illegal Israeli settlement-building.
Regarding reconciliation with rival Palestinian movement Hamas, which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, Abbas said: "The solution is to return to the Palestinian people as the main source of authority by holding free presidential, parliamentary and municipal polls."
"The [Palestinian] state will not be confined to the Gaza Strip, but there can also be no state without Gaza," Abbas said.