Suha Arafat, the wife of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, admitted in a TV interview earlier this month that the Palestinian terror campaign against Israel launched in 2000 was a premeditated act orchestrated by her husband, not a spontaneous “intifada,” or uprising, as many have claimed.
“Yasser Arafat had made a decision to launch the intifada,” she told Dubai TV on Dec. 16, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“Immediately after the failure of the Camp David [negotiations], I met him in Paris upon his return. … Camp David has 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.'”
In a summit convened by President Bill Clinton at Camp David in July 2000, Arafat rejected an offer by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barack to create a Palestinian state in the equivalent of roughly 97 percent of the West Bank, including land swaps, and all of the Gaza Strip, according to an account by America’s chief Middle East negotiator at the time, Dennis Ross. East Jerusalem was to be the Palestinian capital.
Though then-Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan reportedly told Arafat that if he rejected the generous offer he would be committing a “crime” against the Palestinian people, Arafat did just that by walking away from the deal. (RELATED: France begins murder investigation after Arafat’s death)
In September, soon after the Camp David summit ended in failure, the so-called Palestinian intifada began. Many have blamed the start of the uprising on then-leading Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon’s supposedly provocative visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which besides being a holy site to Jews, is also the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a holy site in Islam.
But Suha Arafat’s interview backs up those who have argued that the terror campaign was not the result of some spontaneous uprising triggered by Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, but a premeditated terror campaign orchestrated by Yasser Arafat himself.
“‘I do not want Zahwa’s friends in the future to say that Yasser Arafat abandoned the Palestinian cause and principles,'” Suha Arafat said her husband told her. Zahwa is the couple’s only child.
“‘I might be martyred, but I shall bequeath our historical heritage to Zahwa and to the children of Palestine,'” he supposedly added.
As a result of the four-year terror campaign, more than 1,000 Israelis were killed by Palestinian terror groups, while more than 3,000 Palestinians, including terrorists, died as result of Israel’s efforts to stop the violence.