Accusations that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and others were part of a plot to poison deceased Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat are shaking the PA.
According to reports on Sunday, the late Palestinian leader's widow, Suha Arafat, broke out in tears after being forced to deny any knowledge of the alleged scheme.
The media storm started two weeks ago when the number two PLO figure, Farouk Kaddoumi, claimed in a Jordanian press conference that Abbas together with PA security chief Mohammad Dahlan collaborated in an Israeli-orchestrated plot to poison Arafat.
Kaddoumi asserted that Arafat had shown him documentation proving that Abbas and Hamas leaders met with top American and Israeli officials on the issue.
Fatah quickly went on the offensive against Kaddoumi and his statements, even pointing an angry finger at Jordan and the al-Jazeera news network for covering the affair.
Arafat's widow, Suha, told a Turkish newspaper last week that her deceased husband showed her the minutes of the same Israeli-American-Palestinian meeting of which Kaddoumi spoke. According to her, the ex-leader also said that he feared for his life in light of Dahlan's and Abbas' allegedly peculiar behavior.
Saudi newspaper Okaz quoted Palestinian sources claiming that Abbas' office, acting upon direct orders from the president, threatened to revoke Suha Arafat's monthly PA salary should she decline to deny what the statements she made to the Turkish newspaper.
According to the report, Suha, currently living in Malta near her brother, who is serving as Palestinian ambassador in the country, cried when she learned of the threats.
Pressure from Ramallah brought her to read a script to the media sent to her by Abbas' office denying that she had any knowledge of an assassination plot and attacking Kaddoumi for his statements against the PA.