So turbulent are the politics of the Middle East that even the dead cannot rest in peace. As if Palestine were not the focus of enough attention already — with attempts to upgrade the Palestinian status at the United Nations coming to a boil, and tensions between Israel and Hamas still simmering after the back-and-forth bombardment of recent weeks — the administration in the West Bank has taken the bizarre step of unearthing the body of Yasser Arafat, symbol of the national struggle, in order to determine whether he was poisoned.
This strange episode is a sign of the extent to which politics across the Arab world has been contaminated — and corrupted — by conspiracy theory. If signs of poison are indeed found, the blame will immediately be put on Israel — ignoring the fact that Tel Aviv had every reason to keep the erratic and discredited Arafat alive and kicking. Then again, the absence of evidence has scarcely kept those in the Middle East from buying into conspiracy theories of any and every kind, usually with Israel and the United States as the culprits.
Better to bury the fantasies and conspiracies alongside Arafat's corpse.