Yasser Arafat’s widow, Suha, admitted that the late Palestinian leader planned
the second intifada, in an interview with Dubai TV earlier this month, according
to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute
“Immediately after the failure of the Camp David [negotiations],
I met him in Paris upon his return.... Camp David had failed, and he said to me,
‘You should remain in Paris.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because I am going
to start an intifada. They want me to betray the Palestinian cause. They want me
to give up on our principles, and I will not do so,’” the research institute
translated Suha as saying.
“‘I do not want Zahwa’s [Arafat’s daughter’s]
friends in the future to say that Yasser Arafat abandoned the Palestinian cause
and principles. I might be martyred, but I shall bequeath our historical
heritage to Zahwa and to the children of Palestine,’” Suha, 49, quoted her late
husband as saying.
Her comments run contrary to claims that former prime
minister Ariel Sharon’s infamous visit to the Temple Mount triggered the
intifada, which was launched in September 2000.
Yasser Arafat died in a
Paris military hospital in 2004, and earlier this year, Suha requested an
autopsy to search for traces of a poisonous substance.
She told Al
Jazeera in July that a Swiss laboratory had detected high levels of the
radioactive isotope polonium in Arafat’s clothes, which have been in storage
since his death in 2004. Palestinians have accused Israel of causing Arafat’s
death, though no conclusive evidence has been presented publicly. Israel denies
Arafat, who founded the Palestine Liberation Organization,
died in a French hospital at the age of 75. Doctors at the Percy military
hospital in Clamart, France, said he suffered from a brain hemorrhage and fell
into a coma before he died. He is buried beneath a glass tomb adjacent to the
offices of his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah.
forensic experts took samples of Arafat’s remains in an effort to determine if
he was murdered using the hard-to-trace radioactive poison. They said the
process would take several months.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to