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June 27, 2016 1:34 am

‘Poisoning’ Accusations Are a Palestinian Tradition

avatar by Rafael Medoff /

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PA President Mahmoud Abbas on official PA TV. Photo: PMW/YouTube/Screenshot.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas on official PA TV. Photo: PMW/YouTube/Screenshot. – Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas must be surprised at the international outcry over his accusation this week that Israeli rabbis are plotting to poison Arab wells. After all, Abbas and his colleagues have been making similar allegations for more than 30 years, yet the international community has hardly said a word.

The best-known allegation was the declaration by Yasser Arafat’s wife, Suha, at a 1999 press conference that Israel was engaged in the “daily and intensive use of poisonous gas” against Palestinians, as part of a plan that was causing “an increase in cancer cases among women and children.” The Israelis had also contaminated 80 percent of the PA’s water sources with “chemical materials,” she said.

The episode sparked controversy because then-first lady Hillary Clinton was sitting next to Suha Arafat at the time and did not respond. Clinton later said she was unaware of Mrs. Arafat’s statement because her headphones were not working at that moment.

The list of Palestinian “poisoning” claims in recent years is lengthy and colorful. The director of the PA’s Committee for Consumer Protection, for example, has accused Israel of supplying Palestinian markets with chocolates that cause mad cow disease. The PA’s website has charged that Israeli planes drop bags of poisoned candy into Palestinian neighborhoods. The Palestinian representative to the United Nations in Geneva has claimed that “the Israeli authorities infected by injection 300 Palestinian children with the HIV virus.”

The PA’s deputy minister of supplies, Abdel Hamid al-Qudsi, sees an Israeli plot to stunt Palestinian population growth. “Israel is distributing food containing material that causes cancer and hormones that harm male virility and other spoiled products in the Palestinian Authority’s territories in order to poison and harm the Palestinian population,” al-Qudsi has asserted. “It is an organized plan and conspiracy which is under the auspices of the Israel Defense Forces.”

One of the first — and, from the standpoint of anti-Israel propaganda, most successful — such allegations in modern times began in the small Palestinian village of Arabbe in the spring of 1983. A schoolgirl who opened a window in her classroom fainted. Her classmates detected a strong odor of “rotten fish or eggs,” and some of them also fainted. Both Palestinian and Israeli doctors who visited the scene that day reported a strong smell of hydrogen sulphide, which commonly occurs in raw sewage.

In the days to follow, schoolgirls in Jenin, Barkin, and Mei Saloum complained of dizziness and headaches and were admitted to a local hospital, although their symptoms quickly vanished and they were released. Yasser Arafat claimed that Israel was carrying out “mass poisoning” of Arab girls in order to render them sterile. He said the school incidents were evidence of “the genocide against the Palestinian people.”

The foreign news media ran with the story. A front-page article in the Los Angeles Times was headlined “300 Arab Girls in West Bank Poisoned by Gas,” as if the poisoning was an indisputable fact, rather than an allegation made by the world’s most notorious terrorist leader. The newspaper darkly reported that “a yellow dust that proved to be rich in sulfur was found on a windowsill at one of the schools,” and that unnamed “investigators” were “reported to believe that the dust was a residue of the gas.”

The yellow dust turned out to be pollen. A mysterious tin of white powder that supposedly was an Israeli gas was found to be evaporated milk. And a bottle of strong-smelling liquid that Palestinians found “suspicious” was nothing more than a common household disinfectant.

The Israeli authorities soon found evidence that the entire episode had been cooked up by Palestine Liberation Organization propagandists. One Palestinian activist claiming symptoms of “poisoning” was found to have had himself hospitalized six times, and he was caught “pressuring girls to continue to remain in hospital,” the Jerusalem Post reported. Masked militants in Nablus made announcements over a local mosque’s public address system that the city’s water had been polluted by the Israelis. Some local Arab doctors acknowledged that “they were being pressured not to release the girls from hospital,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

Stinging from Arafat’s accusations and hostile international media reports, the Israeli government invited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Atlanta, to conduct its own investigation. The CDC’s inquiry concluded that the symptoms exhibited by the girls in Arrabe were caused either by “psychological factors” or by hydrogen sulphide, not poison. The girls in the other schools were suffering from nothing more than “anxiety,” to which hysterical Palestinian newspaper and radio reports “may have contributed.” Contrary to Arafat’s allegation, the CDC found “no evidence of reproductive impairment.”

Nonetheless, Arafat never retracted his accusations about Arrabe. Perhaps, then, it was fitting that after Arafat died from a stroke in 2004, PA officials claimed he had been poisoned by Israel — and continued spreading that blood libel long after multiple international investigations found no evidence that the Israelis poisoned him.

Dr. Rafael Medoff is the author of 16 books about Jewish history and Zionism.

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  • solo falta que diga que sus hijos son de judios

  • Yale

    The question this issue really poses is; “Why, after the many allegations have all turned out to be lies, does anyone pay any attention to these bizarre claims?” Let me also mention the allegation that Israel has trained sharks to distinguish between Jews and Muslims and to only attack Muslim swimmers, something that is quite literally impossible.

    The answer appears to be the need of anti-Semites to find a basis for their hatred. If I am right about this, then paying attention to, and reporting, these absurd claims must be recognized as anti-Semitic, i.e., racist, behavior.

  • Reform School

    As poisoners of ignorant Muslim minds and holders of secret numbered foreign bank accounts, Arabfat and Abass accusing Israel of poisoning food and water is like Barack Hussein Obama accusing the Ayatollah Khamemi of being too Jewish.

  • sheldon p hersh

    Isn’t it incredible that this is who Israel has to deal with? Abbas does, however, deserve some credit….at least he’s consistent…..consistently anti-Semitic.

    • robert davis

      Israel does not “have” to deal with anybody unless it wants to. Problemis the PM says he wants to. Of course it may be a way to look nice but even this is counter productive. Better NOT look nice in politics. It does NOT pay off to look nice…

    • FEC

      Does this sound like the fairy tale about the boy (palestinian) who cried wolf (poisoning). I am surprised that the PA didn’t actually poison some people to make it look real. Just saying!

  • martin Lemish

    Mahmoud Abbas is so infected with the virus that he actually is to recognize his low-rung mindset.
    A scammer most of his life prepares him to represent the lowly Palestinians …who really deserve better

    • robert davis

      Frankly and although I should not say so in public, abbas is working harder FOR Israel than the PM…

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    The efforts of the Palestinian (Arab) leadership to sabotage Israel through innuendo, a false narrative, and an ongoing highly toxic propaganda machine promulgating lies and deceit vis-a-vis the Israeli people in the Palestinian media and school curricula is well documented. Deplorably, instead of recognising the Jewish state and endeavouring to live alongside it in peace, the odious Palestinian (Arab) machinations against the Israeli people continue unabated.

  • Clinton’s head phones were not working?? It more likely that Clinton’s empty brain was not working as she is pro Islam and cannot hear anything that remotely looks like lies about Israel.

    • Yale

      They weren’t working — we know that because they weren’t attached to her computer at home.

    • robert davis

      Clinton is totally CORRUPT! If someone pays her to say the sun runs around earth she would confirm very seriously and tell the public her ovaries are so important for the feminine public that she could even make it run around a dozen other planets…Truth has no value to her only money has, this is how she made 150 millions starting from scratch!

  • ita

    More likely than not they poison their own people and Jewish prisoneers.

  • Rafael Medoff misses one essential point. The Palestinian leaders have lied all along because they have had the most receptive ears in the UN and all its supporters. No behaviour can continue without some positive reinforcement to keep it alive. And, it is the reinforcement that counts. Without the support of the international community, the lying behaviour would soon be extinguished.

    • Dev

      Is it even possible for any human to extinguish what comes out of a human heart perennially bent toward the seductive deceit of evil?

  • The PLO terrorist entity has poisoned the minds of young Arabs for years. Mr. Abbas’s deliberate unwillingness to cooperate with Israel proves the Oslo Accords are a complete failure. And a “death culture” is the foundation of a future PLO terrorist state.

  • Linda

    Fantastic set of lies about Israel from the Palestinians. What else is new?