"I remember several years ago when Ehud Olmert was Sharon’s right-hand man and threatened Arafat with assassination in the pages of the Jerusalem Post. I had the strange feeling that if Sharon & Co. were willing to threaten to do it they were fully prepared to do it. Now, it appears they figured out a way to do it that would eliminate their fingerprints. Perhaps a polonium cocktail?"
Such contamination inevitably brings to mind [the Litvinenko case]. Almost eight years after Arafat’s death, then, polonium 210 is immediately associated with cloak-and-dagger intrigue and political assassination. But in this case, there are now more questions than answers …
On the other hand, there is no doubt that Arafat’s death came at a rather odd timing. [Ariel] Sharon was the one who decided upon assuming the post of prime minister to change Israel’s approach, asserting that the Palestinian Authority is part of the problem, rather than the solution, and that Arafat is an enemy.
If Sharon indeed ordered Arafat’s assassination, this must have been done very secretly, in much smaller forums than any other assassination.
They also conducted control experiments using items of Arafat’s clothing that he had not worn after falling ill.
A sample of urine-stained underwear showed polonium-210 radioactivity of 180 millibequerels (mBq) ~ roughly one radioactive decay every five seconds. A control sample had a radioactivity of about 10 mBq. [Swiss scientist Dr. Laurent] Bochud says that naturally occurring polonium-210 ~ resulting from the decay of radon gas, for example ~ normally causes a radioactivity of about 5 mBq per litre of urine.
Polonium-210 has a half-life of about 138 days, so about 20 half-lives had passed between Arafat’s death and the testing in Lausanne.
That’s a minute amount ~ a speck of polonium that active would weigh less than a millionth of a gram, according to the Health Physics Society’s information sheet on polonium; getting that much polonium together would probably require going to the source, which usually involves a nuclear reactor. This is why investigators are thinking the hit on Litvinenko was a high-level spy-vs-spy job.