"I loved Arafat, but the marriage to him was a big mistake on my part," said Suha Arafat to the Sabah Turkish newspaper.
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“I know there were a lot of women that wanted to marry Arafat. However, it was my fate," said 49-year-old Suha who married Arafat in 1990 when she was 27, and he, 61.
"I was engaged to a French attorney and then I met Arafat. I secretly married him in Tunisia, I didn't even wear a wedding dress then. My mother was against the marriage and later, I understood why. Had I known what I would endure, I clearly wouldn't have married him. True, he was a huge leader, but I was lonely," said Suha.
She revealed that in their 14 years of matrimony, until his 2004 death, she tried leaving him time and again – but to no avail. "I tried to leave him hundreds of times, but he wouldn't let me.”
Suha and her daughter (Photo: AFP)
“Everyone knows how he wouldn't permit me to leave. Especially those in his servitude, they know very well what it was like,” she added.
Along with her admission regarding her marriage to the Palestinian leader, Suha discussed the rumors about her.
“Yes, I am regretful. Even when he was with me, I was forced to defend myself. I was slaughtered by gossip against me, even Ceausescu's wife told me in a conversation once that in person, I am nothing like what is written about me in the media."
She described herself as as a "weak link" and claimed that her husband's war with Israel led to the gossip.
“It (gossip) actually all began due to the uprising (intifada) against Israel. Yasser was fighting against the strongest lobby, media and nation, in other words Israel. I was the weakest link,” she said.
Throughout the interview, Suha defended herself in the face of the corruption-related allegations and confirmed that she receives a pension from the Palestinian Authority. She denied claims that she deposited millions of dollars to her bank account.
"I receive money from the Palestinian Authority, 10,000 Euro a month, but that's not a secret, it is documented," she said.
Despite it all, Suha misses her husband. She said that even though life with the Palestinian leader was difficult, “my life without him is even harder.” She revealed that since he died, she has received dozens of marriage proposals, but did not accept. "He is my hero," she concluded.
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