Fatah, Hamas trade blame for Arafat memorial failure

The Fatah spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Hassan Ahmed, said that Hamas had refused to hold a memorial ceremony for Yasser Arafat, citing security reasons.

Fatah, Hamas trade blame for Arafat memorial failure

World Bulletin / News Desk

Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas played the blame game on Monday following the failure to hold a planned memorial in the Gaza Strip marking the anniversary of the death in 2004 of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Fatah spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Hassan Ahmed, told Anadolu Agency that Hamas had refused to hold the memorial ceremony, citing security reasons.

"Hamas, however, made a counter-proposal to hold the ceremony in a closed venue, or that the ceremony be jointly organized by all Palestinian factions," he added. "We rejected both proposals."

"Arafat's value cannot be celebrated in a narrow, closed place," Ahmed said. "No closed hall in Gaza would be able to contain the number of Fatah members and Palestinians expected to turn out for the event."

Since Arafat had been the leader of Fatah, Ahmed added, the Ramallah-based group should be solely responsible for honoring his memory.

However, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri tweeted that Fatah was to blame for the failure to hold the planned memorial for the late Palestinian liberation icon.

Fatah rejected all proposals to share responsibility for organizing the ceremony and insisted that the event be exclusively organized by Fatah, he tweeted.

Arafat, 75, died in France in 2004 under suspicious circumstances. At the time, doctors had been unable to determine the cause of death.

After his remains were exhumed in November 2012, tests conducted on his body by a team of Swiss experts last week revealed "unexpectedly high" traces of polonium-210, a highly radioactive substance.

Polonium is found in miniscule amounts in food and is created naturally in the body, but can be fatal if ingested in high doses.

Palestinians have long accused Israel of being behind Arafat's death. Israel, for its part, has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Kasım 2013, 13:59