JERUSALEM (AP) — A former Israeli official is denying allegations that Israel poisoned Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as French prosecutors begin investigating his possible murder.

Dov Weisglass was chief of staff to the Israeli prime minister when Arafat died in 2004. He says Israel had no interest in harming the Palestinian leader at the end of his political career.

Weisglass told Army Radio Wednesday that Israel permitted Arafat to seek medical treatment in France so Israel could not be accused of exacerbating his illness.

Arafat’s widow, Suha, filed a complaint in France after a Swiss institute detected traces of a rare, lethal substance on objects belonging to the Palestinian leader.

He died in a French military hospital of a stroke. But longstanding rumors circulating in Arab world say Arafat was poisoned.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.