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Monday, November 08, 2004

MIDEAST ON BOIL - Arafat's Wife Suha and Officials battle publicly..

On Behalf Of David Dolan
Sent: Monday, November 08, 2004 8:49 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list ISRAELUPDATE



Tensions have risen sharply today in Palestinian areas after a public battle broke out overnight between Yasser ArafatÂ?s controversial wife Suha and top officials of the dying PLO leaderÂ?s Palestinian Authority.  This has increased fears of possible violence against the small Arab Christian community; since Mrs. Arafat has Greek Orthodox roots (she converted to Islam to marry Arafat in 1994).  Suha is widely resented for her lavish lifestyle in Paris during the past four years while the Palestinians waged their bloody attrition war against Israel.  Meanwhile, developments along IsraelÂ?s northern border and in Iraq are adding to the tense climate in this volatile region.


Speaking late last night by phone from France to the Al Jazeera Arab television network, Mrs. Arafat ranted about an alleged Â?conspiracyÂ? by senior PA leaders Â?to bury Abu Amar (Arafat) alive.Â?  In a screeching Â?appeal for helpÂ? from the Palestinian street, she claimed that Arafat was Â?all right and going to return homeÂ? if the alleged conspirators did not get their nefarious way. 


The men she fingered are no less than the three top Palestinian leaders after Arafat: Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, PLO Secretary-General Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Â?Foreign MinisterÂ? Nabil Shaath.  SuhaÂ?s screed came just hours after the three men announced that they would travel to France today to meet with Arafat's doctors at the military hospital near Paris where he is reportedly in a coma and barely clinging to life.  In an angry reaction to her broadcast outburst, the three men cancelled their trip this morning.  However, after that produced a howl of protest in the Palestinian zones, they have now announced that they will carry on with their travel plans. 




Factual news from the French military hospital about ArafatÂ?s health has been scant in accordance with SuhaÂ?s wishes.  Apparently not even top Palestinian officials really know what is going on with their venerated leader.  This has led to a flood of speculation about ArafatÂ?s true state, including continuing rumors that he actually died last Thursday afternoon.  In typical fashion, many Arab media outlets and officials have blamed Israel for this confused situationÂ?claiming Israeli journalists are deliberately and maliciously exaggerating ArafatÂ?s dire illnessÂ?when in reality the murkiness is clearly the result of Mrs. ArafatÂ?s imposed wishes. 


Israeli analysts say the real issue here is money.  The Palestinian leader is said to have squirreled away billions of dollars in secret bank accounts during the 35 years that he autocratically ruled the PLO, especially over the past decade when huge amounts of Â?foreign aidÂ? poured into his corrupt Palestinian Authority, mainly from Europe and the United States.  Only a few people know the full details of these accounts, possibly including Suha Arafat.  She hinted at a struggle to control this fortune last night when she shouted in Arabic:  "Let it be known to the honest Palestinian people that a bunch of those who want to inherit are coming to Paris!"   


I spoke with a Palestinian Christian friend last night before Mrs. Arafat telephoned Al Jazeera.  He told me his small minority community was extremely nervous over growing signs of a potential Muslim extremist Â?backlashÂ? against the entire Arab Christian population.  He said many see Suha as typical of the Â?corruptÂ? West-leaning community that supposedly values Paris above Jerusalem, and money above all else.




The internal Palestinian battle comes as Israeli forces remain on heightened alert to cope with anticipated unrest when Arafat is finally pronounced dead.  The possibility of major trouble has been reinforced by a claim made on Sunday by a top Arafat deputy in Ramallah that Israeli agents poisoned the dying PLO chairman.  He noted that Arafat Â?is suffering the same symptoms as Wadia HaddadÂ? who was a military leader in the Popular Front PLO-splinter group that was widely believed to have been poisoned by an Arab Â?collaboratorÂ? working for Israel in the 1970Â?s. 


The aide claimed that two possible sources of ArafatÂ?s comatose state have already been ruled outÂ?cancer and a medication overdoseÂ?maintaining that the remaining options include Israeli poisoning. Already voiced by other Palestinian officials and media outlets, and roundly dismissed by Israeli officials, the charge might be widely believed on the Palestinian street, warn some Israeli analysts.  They add that this could spark off intense violence against Israeli forces once the PLO chief is finally declared dead.  As a result, army leaders are already quietly pulling their frontline troops back from Palestinian towns, while reinforcing positions around Jerusalem to prevent any attempt to forcible bury Arafat on the Old CityÂ?s Temple Mount.




Another growing concern is the probability that Iran, Syria and Hizbullah may try to use ArafatÂ?s passing as an excuse to stir up violence in the region.  Significant evidence that this might be the case came on Sunday when Hizbullah claimed it sent an unmanned spy drone over parts of northern Israel, including the town of Nahariya.  Israeli military leaders admit that such a small aircraftÂ?probably developed by Iran and carrying a spy cameraÂ?did indeed enter Israeli air space Sunday morning and flew over Nahariya and other communities.  Analysts say such a device could easily carry bombs into Israeli population centers, if not chemical agents.


Some analysts say the bold Hizbullah action, which was undoubtedly coordinated, if not ordered, by Iran and probably also by Syria, may also be connected to the pending battle in the Iraqi town of Fallujah. They note that while the international media labels the main terrorist operating out of Fallujah, the Al Qaida-linked Abu Zarqawi, as a Â?Jordanian citizen,Â? he is known to Palestinians as one of their own.  The expected imminent slaughter of the Arab terrorist chief and his rogue forces at the hands of the Americans may ignite a firestorm of anti-coalition (and by extension, anti-Israel) emotions, they warn.  Iran is fully aware of this, and may want to further fan the flames via its Hizbullah proxy force. 


All this to say, there remains much to pray about as the Palestinian leader slowly dies and the situation heats up along IsraelÂ?s northern border and in Iraq.  I WILL BE SPEAKING ABOUT ALL OF THIS IN DETAIL TODAY ON THE MOODY BROADCASTING NETWORK.  If you donÂ?t have a local MBN affiliate in your area and would like to listen, go to  The program begins at 5:00 EST, 2:00 PST, which is 22:00 GMT. 




DAVID DOLAN is a Jerusalem-based author and journalist who has lived in Israel since 1980.

  • HOLY WAR FOR THE PROMISED LAND (Broadman & Holman), his latest book, is an overview of the history of the Israel and of the bitter Arab-Israeli conflict that rages there, plus some autobiographical details about the authorÂ?s experiences living in the land since 1980. It especially examines the important role that militant Islam plays in the conflict.
  • ISRAEL IN CRISIS: WHAT LIES AHEAD? (Baker/Revell), which examines the political and biblical prospects for a regional attack upon Israel, settlement in the disputed territories, and related topics, is also available for purchase, along with an updated edition of his popular end-time novel, THE END OF DAYS (21st Century Press).

You may order these books at a special discount price by visiting his web site at, or by phoning 888-890-6938 in North America, or by e mail at:


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