As Yasser Arafat lies gravely ill in a French military hospital, a bitter dispute between Arafat’s estranged wife, Suha, and his top advisors has broken out into the international media.
“I appeal to you to be aware of the scope of the conspiracy,” Suha Arafatï¿½told the Al-Jazeera satellite channel in a telephone interview, “They are trying to bury Abu Ammar alive.”
Not so Suha herself.
Hospital officials report that Suha has been behaving exactly as family members of seriously ill patients typically do, spending late nights with Arafat in his hospital room and only emerging for brief periods looking tired and upset.
Some hospital officials privately noted that her behaviour did occasionally deviate from the norm. One official described periods in which Suha Arafat was observed sitting astride the comotose Arafat, banging on his chest with her fists, screaming “Give me the secret codes to the Swiss accounts before you die!”
After three years of Arafat’s house arrest in the rubble of his Ramallah compound, Suha Arafat has reemerged on the international stage with an important message.
“The battle for the future of Palestine must be fought wherever it can be fought,” Mrs Arafat angrily stated at a Monday press conference. “I have spent the last four years of my life struggling for Palestine in the aisles of Harrods in London, at the revolving doors of Gucci in Rome, and in front of the windows of Channel in Paris. No one has struggled harder for Palestine than me. And I need funds to keep this frontline secure.”
Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs, Jamil Tarifi commented that “Suha Arafat needs to learn that Arafat is a child of the struggle, and that at this critical time, nothing is more important than the struggle to free Palestine.” Tarifi concluded the interview by excusing himself, saying he had to attend a meeting to discuss concrete shipments from his family’s factory to an Israeli construction company working on new settlements. “Business must go on,” quipped the cheery Tarifi.
“It is disgusting”, stated Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, “that a woman who we do not know is trying to profit during a time of crisis.” Sources suggest that Shaath may be worried about the loyalty of his own wife, who is young enough to be his daughter and similarly prone to expensive tastes, as the couple’s four wedding receptions in East and West Jerusalem, Gaza and Cairo demonstrated.
Current Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei added that Suha needs to focus on “what is important for Palestine right now,” and not to allow the Palestinian people to appear divided during this period, taking a brief call from Israeli PM Sharon during the interview to explain the latest holdup in deliveries of cement for Israel’s Wall.
Former Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, echoed similar sentiments from his $2 million dollar mansion in Gaza.
“All that is important now,” stated Abbas, “is that Arafat is returned to full health and comes back home to where he belongs, sitting at his desk in charge of the Palestinian Authority checkbook, of which he is the sole signatory. The country will not be able to function otherwise.”