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Photo: AFP
Suha and daughter Zahwa
Photo: AFP
Photo: AP
Former PA chairman Yasser Arafat
Photo: AP
Arafat took secrets to his grave, widow says
In rare interview Suha Arafat talks about her late husband's death, responds to suspicions of poisoning and allegations of her controlling Palestinian funds
Suha Arafat, widow of the late Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat, admitted that she does not know whether her husband was poisoned to death.

 

“God only knows, because Abu Amar (Arafat) took all of the secrets to the grave,” she told London-based Arabic language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat.

 

Suha said she worked toward bringing her ailing husband for treatment in Tunisia as she ‘trusted the doctors there,' but could not do so as former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) had already reached an agreement with French President Jacques Chirac to treat Arafat in Paris.

 

As to the Authority’s investigation into Arafat’s death, which was launched in an attempt to prove that Israel had poisoned its former chairman, Suha said, “No senior official has anything to say on the matter at this point. I do not want to get into the details, but I do want to say that Tunisia had planned on treating him (Arafat), and (Tunisian) President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali told me he would bring doctors from Germany and Italy toward this end.”

 

The Arafat widow responded to allegations that she was in control of her late husband's money and indeed of all of the Palestinian Authority's funds, saying "one of these days the truth will come out without me having to respond of defend myself."

 

'Atmosphere in occupied Palestine is difficult'

Suha claimed that at first he daughter Zahwa received an allowance from the Authority, but this has been cut off for unclear reasons.

 

"All I care about now is my daughter Zahwa's education and guaranteeing her future, after having lost her father, president Arafat," she said.

 

Suha refuses to return to the Palestinian territories due to the difficult situation.

 

"I want to keep my daughter, and it's enough that I lost my husband; may God protect her, and God willing she will bring me president Arafat's grandchildren.

 

"The atmosphere in occupied Palestine is difficult, even more so that in Abu Amar's time," she said.

 

Today, Suha and her daughter live in a palace granted to them by Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, and she says that Ben Ali has offered her full citizenship in Tunisia.

 

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