Arafat, One of Worlds Richest Men, in Critical Condition Again
Nov 04, 04 / 20 Cheshvan 5765
Yasser Arafat father of modern-day terrorism was taken to the emergency ward in the military hospital in France last night, after suffering what reports termed a general systems collapse. He was taken from the hospitals hematology ward, to where Israel allowed him to fly last week.
Information regarding Arafats condition is sparse, though he is said to be in critical condition. His spokesperson in Paris, Leila Shahad, acknowledged that Arafat had taken a turn for the worse, but Muhammad Dahlan said that there is no room for special concern. Arafats doctors will hold a press conference this afternoon, at 5 PM Israel time (10 AM in New York).
Some reports say that Arafat has leukemia. His brother, Fathi Arafat, is hospitalized in Cairo, with what his doctors say is advanced stomach cancer.
Former PA prime minister Abu Mazen, who is currently seen as the leading candidate to replace Arafat as head of the PLO and Palestinian Authority, was on his way to Paris to visit Arafat today - but turned around when he found out that he probably would not be able to see him.
Arafat was born in August 1929, in Cairo - and not in Jerusalem or Gaza, as Arab sources often claim. Over the course of his career, which began well before 1964 when he took over the PLO, he has been directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Israelis, untold numbers of Arabs and more than 100 U.S. citizens including two diplomats in Sudan whose brutal murders Arafat ordered by radio from his Beirut headquarters.
In 1995, Ariel Sharon said, I dont know anyone other than Arafat who has as much civilian Jewish blood on his hands since the time of the Nazis.
Arafat is also credited with turning airplane hijacking into an international terrorist scourge. Over two years ago, after an Israeli plane was almost shot down in Kenya, then-Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned, Sky-jacking terrorism first began against Israeli targets abroad by Arafat and Fatah in the late 1960s, and it very quickly became an international plague...
As father of the Palestinian nationalist/terrorist movement, Arafat saw nothing wrong with uniting the PLOs money and his own personal accounts. He reserved for himself sole signatory rights on the PLOs accounts, and never hid the fact that he often used the money for his own personal use. A special annual issue of Forbes Magazine reported that Arafat controlled $300 million, placing him among the richest in its category of Kings, Queens and Despots. Some reports are that he controls five times that amount.
He also used the money for terrorism. Documents found by the IDF during its Operation Defensive Shield campaign in April 2002 showed that part of the huge budget of the Palestinian Authority funded to a great extent by countries of the European Union was diverted by Arafat for terrorism purposes. For only one example, a letter was found signed by Arafat authorizing the transfer of thousands of dinars to Ahmed Mahmad Iz-A-Din Al-Kassam, a Hamas member who also represented Hizbullah in the PA and was responsible for transferring money for terror attacks and supporting terrorists families.
Arafat turned down this week a request by his wife Suha, who lives in Paris, to write a will granting her his money. Experts say that the fact that he refuses to share his signatory privileges, even now, with anyone else, means that the tremendous amounts of money that were designated for the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza will either support bankers around the world in the best case, or will go to his relatives, or, in the worst-case scenario, will find their way into the Fatah coffers to continue to fund terrorism.
Blonde, convent-educated and with a rumoured penchant for designer suits, Suha Arafat makes an unlikely wife for the leader of the Palestinian resistance.
Since their secret marriage in Tunis more than a decade ago, Mrs Arafat has certainly displayed a gift for undiplomatic outbursts.
In 2002, just before her husband condemned all terrorist acts which target civilians, Suha Arafat seemingly endorsed suicide bombings. If she had a son, there would be no greater honour than to sacrifice him for the Palestinian cause, she told a London-based Saudi weekly.
I hate the Israelis, she said in an interview a year earlier.
I oppose normalisation with them. . . [they] are responsible for the problems our children have.
In 1999, during a meeting with US First Lady Hillary Clinton, she accused Israel of poisoning Palestinian air and water and causing cancer.
Mrs Clinton responded by accusing her of making statements that could adversely affect the Middle East peace process.
Life in exile
Raised a Catholic in Ramallah and Nablus, Mrs Arafat left to study at the Sorbonne in Paris. Her father was a banker and her mother is a high-profile Palestinian journalist, Reemonda Tawil. It was through her mother that the future Mrs Arafat met her husband.
After their introduction, Suha moved to Tunis to work for him with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in exile. She converted to Islam and they wed in 1990, when she was in her late 20s and he was already in his 60s.
According to some reports, they have led almost separate lives since his return to the occupied territories, each with separate quarters in their home. One report said her apartment is decorated with images of the Pope and Jesus Christ, as well as one of a young Mr Arafat with a gun.
Their daughter, Zawha, was born in July 1995, and since the start of the second intifada, Mrs Arafat has been living with her mother and daughter in Paris.
But while the Arafats may have been living apart, they have been embroiled in a scandal together. The French authorities recently revealed they were investigating alleged multi-million dollar transfers to her bank account from a number of foreign bank accounts.
The disclosure added fuel to allegations of financial corruption within the Palestinian Authority.
Mrs Arafat hit back by accusing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of leaking news of the French inquiry in order to distract attention from corruption allegations that were being levelled against him at the time.
She, in turn, has accused her husbands close aides of being responsible for corrupt dealings, saying: Every beautiful flower ends up surrounded by weeds.
That has not endeared her to PLO insiders, many of whom regard her as more French than Palestinian.
Some have voiced fears in the past that her lifestyle could damage Mr Arafats revolutionary credentials - and since she has no social or political standing in the PLO, her influence is unlikely to outlive her frail husband.
From the news flow at Intercessors Network