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'Suha Arafat admits husband premeditated Intifada'

December 29, 2012 07:33

In interview, Palestinian leader's widow says Arafat decided to launch Intifada after Camp David, according to research institute.

Deceased PLO chairman Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat 311. (photo credit:REUTERS)

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 (MEMRI).

“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.

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“‘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 killing him.

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.

Last month, 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 this report.
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  • ariel sharon
  • Temple Mount
  • yasser arafat
  • intifada
  • suha arafat
  • camp david
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