Suha Arafat, wife of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The widow of former PLO chairman Yasser Arafat said Wednesday, on the 10th anniversary of her husband’s death, that further violence would only serve to hurt the Palestinian people.
“Armed struggle today will not lead to anything more. We will only end up being crushed. The forces are unequal. We have to continue negotiations proving, if anything, that it is Israel that does not want peace,” Suha Arafat said in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
“They said my husband was an obstacle to peace. We saw following his death what happened to peace.”
Suha Arafat, who lives in Malta with her daughter, told the daily that Yasser Arafat would not have wanted to see his Palestinian brothers still fighting on the 10th anniversary of his death.
“My husband was the only one who succeeded in uniting the Palestinian factions, she said, adding that “Arafat had turned Palestine into a secular country. People used to go to the beach in Gaza. He never imagined that it could become an Islamic state.”
Hamas had “taken the people hostage,” she said, calling what was happening in Gaza genocide.
“A generation is growing up in violence, with no education, with only the hope of emigrating. I hope that Hamas will finally understand this and work toward peace negotiations,” she said, suggesting that then- US president George W. Bush would have thought twice about asking for “a new generation of Palestinian leaders” had he known Hamas would follow Arafat.
When asked if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was too weak, Suha Arafat said, “He is a man of goodwill. It is not easy to take the place of Arafat. Anyone would feel inadequate.”
History will determine whether Arafat was right to start the second intifada, she said.