Palestinians 'burying Arafat alive', wife says

A team of Palestinian leaders arrived in Paris last night despite a televised outburst by Yasser Arafat's wife, Suha, in which she accused them of making the trip to "bury alive" the dangerously ill President of the Palestinian Authority.

The delegation, which is determined to establish the gravity of Mr Arafat's condition, will question officials and medical staff before meeting the President of France, Jacques Chirac this afternoon after reinstating the journey they had initially cancelled in response to the highly emotional attack on their motives by Mrs Arafat.

In the early hours yesterday Mrs Arafat, 41, telephoned al-Jazeera ­ the most-watched satellite channel in the Arab world ­ from the French military hospital where her 75-year-old husband is in intensive care and exclaimed in Arabic: "Let it be known to the honest Palestinian people that a bunch of those who want to inherit are coming to Paris."

Using Mr Arafat's nom de guerre, the Sorbonne-educated Suha Arafat added: "I tell you they are trying to bury Abu Ammar alive. He is all right, and he is going home. God is Great."

The team ­ Abu Mazen, who is the PLO secretary and former prime minister, Ahmad Qureia, the Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, the Foreign Minister, and the Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker, Rawhi Fattouh ­ will also meet the French Foreign Minister, Michel Barnier, who described Mr Arafat's condition as "very complex, very serious and stable right now".

Palestinian officials have been increasingly infuriated at what they see as Mrs Arafat's monopoly of control over access to Mr Arafat's bedside and over the information medical staff have been permitted to give about how critical her husband's condition is.

According to one PLO source only Mrs Arafat, Ramsi Khoury, his principal private secretary, his senior bodyguard Yusuf Abdullah, and his nephew Nasr al-Qidwa, the PLO's representative at the UN, had been allowed to see him in person.

Mr Qureia would only say that the outburst by "our sister" Mrs Arafat ­ with whom any final decision on whether to switch off Mr Arafat's life support is presumed to lie ­was "unfortunate".

But Bassam Abu Sharif, a long-time aide of Mr Arafat said yesterday that the President's wife ­ who did not see her husband for four years until she flew to Ramallah to be with him 10 days ago ­ "has no right to interfere in politics or to insult the leadership. Yasser Arafat's family is the Palestinian people, not Suha Arafat."

Palestinian officials were more reluctant than members of the Palestinian public to attribute Mrs Arafat's outburst to worries about a possible wrangle over the future of Mr Arafat's personal fortune ­ estimates about the allegedly multi-billion dollar size of which vary wildly. The French authorities and some members of the PLO have been trying to inquire into an alleged £11m transferred to her from Palestinian Authority funds over the past four years.

Instead, Palestinian politicians suggested that Mrs Arafat had long had a personally hostile relationship with Abu Mazen ­ a moderate widely seen as a potential successor to Mr Arafat ­ and was motivated by what one Arafat aide claimed were "egoistic" reasons.

One PLO executive member claimed yesterday that she was "obsessed" with the belief that there was a "conspiracy" against her husband and added: "When she arrived here before his departure from [the Muqata compound in Ramallah] she was screaming: 'Do not take him from the Muqata ... You want to get rid of him'."

Meanwhile one leaflet that was being handed out in the name of the Fatah-linked Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade in Ramallah suggested that Marwan Barghouti, who is currently in an Israeli prison, would be seen as a plausible successor to Mr Arafat.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
tvReview: The strength of the writing keeps viewers glued to their seats even when they are confronted with the hard-hitting scenes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Sport
England’s opening goalscorer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain battles with Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew
FootballEngland must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Life and Style
Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
fashion
Sport
Wigan Athletic’s back-of-the shirt sponsor Premier Range has pulled out due to Malky Mackay’s arrival
Football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: FP&A Manager Supply Chain

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property NQ+

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...

Argyll Scott International: Retail Commercial Finance Analyst

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...

Langley James : Senior Technician; Promotion & Training Opp; Borough; upto £32k

£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines