February 26, 2003 Special Dispatch No. 475

Holiday Greetings from Yasser Arafat to Saddam Hussein

February 26, 2003
Palestinians, Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 475

On February 5th, 2003, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat sent a telegram to Saddam Hussein in honor of the 'Id. The following is the text of the telegram as reported by the Iraqi newspaper Al-Jumhuriya[1]:

"President Saddam Hussein, may Allah protect him, received a congratulatory telegram for 'Id Al-Adha [The Feast of the Sacrifice] from Mr. Yasser Arafat, President of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO.":

"Your Excellency, Brother-President Saddam Hussein, greetings and the blessings of Allah to you."

"As our glorious nation celebrates 'Id Al-Adha, the holiday of sacrifice and redemption, it is our pleasure to send to you, and through you to your revered government and your people – our brethren - in the name of the Palestinian people and leadership, and from me personally, our warmest regards, our heartfelt and sincere congratulations, and our deepest prayers to Allah the Glorious, may He lead our steps onto the road of virtue, success, and progress to our peoples, and strengthen our brotherly ties, cooperation and solidarity in a way that will serve our interests, our rights, our nations, and the future of our generations and repel all dangers that loom presently over us in our region."

"On this blessed occasion, which we are celebrating with our Palestinian people in the holy land of Palestine, the first of the two Qibla [the direction to which Muslims turn in prayer], the land of Al-Israa wa Al-Mi'raj [Prophet Muhammad's night ascent to heaven from Jerusalem, and his return to earth], I wish, with all confidence and hope, that all our brethren in our great nation [will strengthen] their stand beside us, [and] increase their support to us in this difficult and dangerous phase we are going through, with all its old wounds and hurt. To reduce the suffering of our patient and enduring people, to support our ongoing steadfast resistance in confronting the Israeli war-machine, aggression, murders, and destruction.""To undermine the attempts and plans by which the Israeli government - the occupying power - is trying to blow up the peace process and the foundations and institutions of our national Palestinian authority, and even to forcefully change its elected leadership and to impose on us an Israeli solution that serves Israel's interests and covetous greed in our holy land, and in our resources [in order] to enhance the vile settlement and occupation of our land."

"Any kind of support and assistance from you in these difficult times will enable us to continue our persistence and resistance until we put an end to the occupation, in all its manifestations, of our holy Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and the Islamic and Christian holy shrines, and exercise our legal and lasting rights, based on international legal resolutions, and most importantly our rights for self determination, for repatriation, and for establishing our independent state with its capital Al-Quds Al-Sharif [Jerusalem]."

"Once again we send you our heartiest brotherly wishes, and to your Excellency we wish the best of health and happiness, and may Allah the Powerful protect Iraq from the great dangers and evils that loom over it … and together, hand in hand [we will march] to Al-Quds Al-Sharif with the help of Allah."

"[Signed] Yasser Arafat, President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the PLO, Ramallah. February 5, 2003."

[1] Al-Jumhuriya (Iraq), February 22, 2003.

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