Da Ma’an News
Speaking to ‘Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat’, Suha Arafat has revealed that she was shocked that her late husband, the former Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, was taken to France for treatment, and not to Tunisia where she was living. She also told the London-based newspaper, Arabic-language paper that Arafat had been suffering from a treatable form of diabetes.
Only some of what she told ‘Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat’ she allowed to be published and some she preferred to keep secret.
She said that her main preoccupation now is raising her young daughter, Zahwa, and she is not interested in entering into what she described as "media wars ".
Speaking from her home in Tunis, which the Tunisian president provided her with, Suha told the newspaper about her grief following the death of her husband and also her sadness about how the Israeli media dealt with his death. She said that she now preferred to keep silent.
She added that it was not her who asked for Arafat to be transported to Paris for treatment, but that it was the former president Arafat’s successor Ahmad Qura’i who agreed this with the French president, Jacques Chirac. She had wanted Arafat to be treated in Tunis.
She also revealed that Arafat was suffering from a form of diabetes which, according to a French friend of hers, could have been treated in some 40 days.
She said that the Tunisian president, Zein El Abideen Bin Ali, made the suggestion that she live in Tunis. She added that she and her daughter, Zahwa, feel relaxed living in Tunis. The president deals with her daughter as his own, Suha said, and if, at any minute, she wants to see him, he will immediately come.
Suha was asked if there was any Tunisian influence on the Oslo accords. She responded that she used to be told by Arafat that the Tunisians were not interfering in any Palestinian decisions and that any Palestinian decision is an independent decision.
Suha also revealed that it was a surprise for her that Arafat was taken to France for treatment as she was living in Tunis, not in France.
When she was asked if he was poisoned, she said: "God knows. I think Arafat died with all his secrets with him".
"No-one knows anything," she said. "I dont want to enter into the details but all I want to say is that Tunis was ready to treat him. Bin Ali prepared a larger palace than this one and he was saying that he would bring doctors from Italy and Germany."
She was also asked about her so-called ‘palace’ in Paris. She denied this, saying, "What I have there is not more than a small apartment and that is well-known by all our friends."