The widow of deceased Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat said that it was time for the region’s Arabs to recognize the state of Israel, and that armed struggle to eliminate the Jewish state’s existence was no longer a plausible idea.
“We need to clearly express the recognition of Israel; no one can doubt its existence,” Suha Arafat said on Wednesday.
Arafat, however, did not say whether she believed Israel has a right to exist, only that it does exist. Israeli officials have often spoken about the need for Palestinians to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist because doing so would recognize the state’s long-term sovereignty and permanence.
Speaking on the tenth anniversary of her husband’s death, Suha Arafat was also noticeably dismayed at the actions of Palestinian terror group Hamas. “Since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, Fatah leaders and buildings were attacked,” she stated.
Mrs. Arafat said that Hamas is ruining the futures of Gaza youths, committing “genocide” upon its own population. She added:
Hamas has taken the people in the Gaza Strip as hostages. When I see what is happening in Gaza, its just genocide. This generation grew up with violence, without education, with only a hope of emigrating. I hope that Hamas will finally understand that it should work towards peace negotiations. They said my husband was an obstacle to peace. [But] we saw what happened to peace after his death.
Some Middle East analysts have described Mr. Arafat as anything but the man who won a Nobel Peace Prize. After his death, Arafat was described by Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby as “the man who brought modern terrorism to the world … who inculcated the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich.” Time magazine described some of Arafats feats, including “his hand in overseeing military groups responsible for bombings, hijackings, assassinations, and even the murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes under his “direct or indirect command.”
In 1991, during the first Palestinian “intifada” terror campaign against Israel, Arafat, as PLO chairman, attended the First Popular Arab Islamic Conference. The event was also attended by infamous jihadist leaders such as al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, along with delegations from Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other radical groups.
Yasser Arafat’s controversial past includes comments that directly contrast those his widow currently espouses. In calling for the elimination of the state of Israel, he once said:
We shall never stop until we can go back home and Israel is destroyed. … The goal of our struggle is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromises or mediations. … The goal of this violence is the elimination of Zionism from Palestine in all its political, economic and military aspects. … We don’t want peace, we want victory. Peace for us means Israel’s destruction and nothing else.