Arafat’s widow: Second Intifada was a mistake

A woman passes a poster depicting late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Shatila Palestinian refugee camp, Beirut
(photo credit: MOHAMED AZAKIR / REUTERS)

Deposed Fatah operative Mohammed Dahlan, a former PA security commander in the Gaza Strip, moved to the United Arab Emirates after falling out with PA President Mahmoud Abbas ten years ago.

Israel was not responsible for the death of Yasser Arafat – and the Second Intifada, which erupted in September 2000, was a mistake, Suha Arafat, widow of the former PLO chairman was quoted as saying over the weekend.
On her Instagram account, Suha wrote on Friday that she does not accuse anyone, “not even Israel, of killing [him], because until now I don’t have evidence against anyone.”
Suha said that she did not want the issue of her husband’s death to be part of Palestinian “internal political battles.”
She was apparently referring to allegations by senior Palestinian Authority officials that deposed Fatah operative Mohammed Dahlan was involved in the “assassination” of Arafat, who died in a French hospital in November 2004.
Dahlan, a former PA security commander in the Gaza Strip, moved to the United Arab Emirates after falling out with PA President Mahmoud Abbas 10 years ago.
PA and Fatah officials have since claimed that Israel, with the help of Palestinian “collaborators,” was behind the “assassination” of Arafat. A special commission of inquiry set up by the PA leadership, however, has failed to substantiate the claim.
Suha confirmed that she was recently interviewed for an Israeli documentary about her husband, and said that the Second Intifada was a mistake.
“I expressed my opinion that the Intifada was a mistake, because we lost a lot and our war with them [Israel] was asymmetrical,” she wrote on her Instagram account. I’m not afraid of expressing my opinion.”
Suha’s remarks came after Yediot Ahronot quoted her on Friday as saying she does not believe that Israel was responsible for the death of her husband, although she is convinced that he was “poisoned.”
She was also quoted as saying that the Second Intifada “was Yasser Arafat’s biggest mistake” and that he should not have returned to the path of terrorism.
The newspaper said her statements were made during an interview with the director of the documentary called Enemies, which is scheduled to be broadcast by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, KAN.
Suha, 57, has been living aboard since the death of Yasser Arafat. She has often criticized the PA, accusing its leaders of seeking to silence her.
Recently, she threatened to “open the gates of hell” on senior PA officials. “I have Yasser’s personal diary,” she said in an interview with KAN in August 2020. “He wrote about every one of them. If I publish a tiny piece of paper of what Yasser wrote about them, it will expose them to their people.”
Her threat came after she faced backlash for attacking the PA over its denunciation of the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
“I want to apologize, in the name of the honorable among the Palestinian people, to the Emirati people and their leadership for the desecration and burning of the UAE flag in Jerusalem and Palestine, and for the insult to the symbols of the beloved UAE,” she wrote then on her Instagram account.
Addressing the Palestinians, she added: “Our generations need to read history well to learn how the UAE supported the Palestinian people and cause in the past and present.”
Suha’s apology, which drew sharp criticism from senior PA officials, came after Palestinian protesters burned UAE flags and pictures of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in response to the deal with Israel.
The PA leadership had condemned the normalization agreement as a “betrayal of the Palestinians, Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Several Palestinians on Saturday criticized Suha for “exonerating” Israel from the death of her husband.
Hassan Asfour, a former PA minister and editor of the online Amad news outlet, wrote in response to her statements: “Your silence is good. Silence is a talent that is much greater than gossip from the suburbs of Paris or elsewhere. By the way, Yasser Arafat is the leader of a people, not your husband.”

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