Yasser Arafat's Widow Says She Tried To Leave Palestinian Leader '100 Times'

Suha Arafat Says Life With 'Great Leader' Was Difficult

Dear Departed: The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat with his wife, Suha, in 2004.
getty images
Dear Departed: The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat with his wife, Suha, in 2004.

By JTA

Published February 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Suha Arafat, the widow of Yasser Arafat, said she tried to leave him “hundreds of times, but he wouldn’t let me.”

Arafat also told the Turkish newspaper Sabah that she would not have married the Palestinian leader had she known how difficult life with him would be.

“My life with him was hard. However, my life without him is even harder,” she said. “It is as if I am walking in a field covered with mines and I have no idea when one will go off. We were married for 22 years; however it felt like it was 50.

“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 also all alone.”

Yasser Arafat died in November 2004. His body was recently exhumed from its crypt in Ramallah in the West Bank at the request of his wife to test his remains for traces of radioactive poisoning.

Arafat, who was 33 years younger than her husband with whom she eloped on her 27th birthday, converted from Christianity to Islam. She said she believed her marriage to Yasser Arafat was her “fate,” a concept in the Koran.

She told the newspaper, “Everyone knows how he wouldn’t permit me to leave. Especially those in his servitude, they know very well what it was like.”

Arafat said that she is focused on her 17-year-old daughter, Zahwa, and that she is not interested in remarrying.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.