Suha Arafat, widow of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, told the Turkish daily newspaper Sabah that she tried repeatedly to leave her husband, only to be refused. She also said she had loved the Palestinian leader but admitted to having regrets.
“I know there were a lot of women who wanted to marry Arafat. However, it was my fate … I tried to leave him hundreds of times, but he wouldn’t let me,” Suha Arafat said. “Everyone knows how he wouldn’t permit me to leave. Especially those in his servitude, they know very well what it was like.”
In the interview, Suha Arafat said that she regretted the marriage to the Palestinian leader, who died in 2004, citing the constant gossip surrounding her.
“Yes, I am regretful. Even when he was with me, I was forced to defend myself. I was slaughtered by gossip against me,” Sabah’s English-language website quoted her as saying, as reported by the Lebanon-based Daily Star.
“What they would say didn’t even seem to be about me, it was as if they were talking about someone else,” she said.
Describing herself as “the weakest link,” Suha Arafat said her husband’s battle with Israel spurred the gossip targeting her.
“It [the gossip] actually all began due to the uprising [intifada] against Israel. Yasser was fighting against the strongest lobby, media and nation, in other words Israel. I was the weakest link,” she said. “Even if I regret my marriage, I have no other choice than to accept reality.”
Suha Arafat told Sabah that in hindsight, her decision to marry the Arab hero was a mistake.
“If I had known what I would have to go through, I definitely would not have gotten married. I was with a great leader, but I was all alone,” she said.
She added that while life with the PLO leader was difficult, “my life without him is even harder.”
Source: Israel Hayom