Yasser Arafat planned the second intifada, his widow says

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yasser Arafat planned the second intifada, his widow said in a television interview.

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Suha Arafat said the late PLO leader told her about his plans in Paris immediately following the failed summit at Camp David in 2000 featuring Arafat, President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

“(H)e said to me, ‘You should remain in Paris.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because I am going to start an intifada,’ ” Suha Arafat recalled earlier this month during an interview with Dubai TV, according to a translation released this week by the Middle East Media Research Institute. ” ‘They want me to betray the Palestinian cause. They want me to give up on our principles, and I will not do so.’ ” 

He also spoke of leaving his legacy to his daughter, Zahwa.

“ ‘I do not want Zahwa’s friends in the future to say that Yasser Arafat abandoned the Palestinian cause and principles,” Suha Arafat quoted her husband as saying. ” ‘I might be martyred, but I shall bequeath our historical heritage to Zahwa and to the children of Palestine.’ ”

The international community blamed the start of the second intifada on a September 2000 visit to the Temple Mount by Ariel Sharon, then the prime minister of Israel.

At the request of his wife, Yasser Arafat’s body was exhumed last month to test for radioactive poisoning after traces of the radioactive isotope polonium were found on his clothing, which has been in storage since his death in a Paris military hospital in 2004.

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