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Nov 08, 2004
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Palestinian Leaders React to Suha Arafat's Accusations: We Knew Abu Ammar Before She was Born

#331 | 06:55
Source: Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar)Al-Arabiya Network (Dubai/Saudi Arabia)

The following are reactions by Palestinian leaders to Suha Arafat's statement:

Al-Jazeera TV Al-Tayyeb Abd Al-Rahim, PA Presidency's Sec.-Gen.: We listened with amazement to Mrs. Suha Arafat's call to the Palestinian people from the hospital where the President is being treated. This call is illogical, unbalanced, and utterly untrue.

We were surprised that Mrs. Suha Arafat is procrastinating and refuses to receive the delegation, claiming that she has the authority under French law. Our people was amazed by such a position. I think that our people are well aware of the plot aimed at instigating civil strife among their lines.

Al-Arabiya TV Al-Tayyeb Abd Al-Rahim, PA Presidency's Sec.-Gen.:We are not heirs, but comrades in arms, comrades to the same path. We are comrades in a journey that has lasted more than half a century. Those who think according to the logic of heirs and inheritance are neither comrades to the path nor comrades to the journey, but comrades by correspondence, comrades in talk alone, whose words will not resonate among our people nor will they influence it.

What Suha Arafat - Mrs. Suha Arafat – said does not represent our people or our leadership. If the President, may he recuperate, Allah willing, would hear such things, he would have rejected them completely. He would never allow it.

Yasser Arafat is not the property of a small family. He belongs to the entire Palestinian people. He is our symbol, our leader, our teacher, and our president.

We were surprised that Mrs. Suha Arafat wants to shatter the Palestinian leadership's resolution and wants a monopoly over the President. We don't know the reason.

Entering Palestinian politics is possible only through the rules and regulations that the Palestinian people has accepted. To those in Paris who are thinking according to the logic of heirs, I say– heaven forbid, and after a long life, and we all wish the President health to complete his dream –the inheritance will be according to the rules and regulations the President himself authorized.

Al-Arabiya TV Hani AL-Masri, Political Commentator: We must make it clear that the question of President Arafa's illness, life, and death, does not concern only his family. The Palestinian people are the family of Yasser Arafat and every issue that concerns him has many political ramifications that cannot be dealt with in this limited manner, which reflects narrow personal and selfish interests.

Since the Palestinian political system and Palestinian law do not give any political role to the wife of the Palestinian president, we can rule out that the possibility that it is about government and authorities.

It is about personal inheritance that concerns money and property and there is an attempt to exploit the President's illness to the maximum and the response from the Palestinian leadership is not good enough. This situation cannot be allowed to drag on continuously, because it causes civil strife and internal corrosion from which only Israel gains.

Al-Arabiya TV Palestinian Sports and Youth Minister Saleh Tamri: By Allah I was shocked. I needed someone to remind me that it is really Mrs. Suha Arafat talking. What she said hurt Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian people, herself and us all. Is it conceivable for the Palestinian people and leadership to wait for clarifications regarding President Yasser Arafat's health, and then for Mrs. Suha to make such a statement that causes confusion – actually, it caused no confusion – and would to accuse his colleagues and students of wanting to bury him alive?!

For the past two weeks we, the Palestinian people and leadership, have been believing all kinds of conflicting stories. Once we were told that the President is suffering from acute influenza. We accepted this and kept silent. Then we were told – a stomach infection. We accepted this and kept silent. Then – the possibility of leukemia. Then the possibility of poisoning – with all the accompanying speculations. Doubt and suspicion began to grow None of the people who spoke had seen Arafat.

We are Yasser Arafat's family. We knew Yasser Arafat even before Mrs. Suha Arafat was born. We care for Yasser Arafat and no one has the right to deny the truth from the Palestinian people.

Interviewer: What were [Suha's] motives, in your opinion? How do you analyze this step?

Saleh Tamri: It is difficult to analyze this. By Allah, it's easier to analyze a tablet of hieroglyphs than to analyze this statement. Mrs. Suha is not an ignorant girl and she's not naive.

We had expected Suha to give us a glimmer of light regarding Yasser Arafat's medical condition, but she didn't. Unfortunately, her statement will encourage many people to spread rumors, and I don't even want to think about the rumors going around. I am also surprised at the silence of Nasser Al-Qidwah, Abu Ammar's nephew, a fighter and leader in Fatah and a well-known figure, but he keeps silent. Nabil Abu-Radeina, whose statements we have become accustomed to, at the moment he should talk – keeps silent. Ramzi Khuri – keeps silent. All those surrounding Arafat are silent.

Interviewer: Why?

Saleh Tamri: They all say that the French law grants Suha the rights regarding President Yasser Arafat. If President Chirac were to lie in bed instead of Yasser Arafat, would his wife confiscate him?!

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