SABAH (Turkey), THE GUARDIAN (UK), YNET (Israel)
Nine years after her husband’s death, Suha Arafat regrets her marriage to the former Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. They married in a secret wedding in Tunisia in 1990 when Suha was 27. Arafat, then 61, was 34 years older.
In an interview given last week to the Turkish newspaper Sabah, Suha Arafat said that she loved her husband, but the marriage “was a big mistake and I regret it.”
Suha Arafat says she has lived two lives "My childhood and my youth were my first life. Arafat became my second […] my identity was completely destroyed."
Born in Jerusalem to a prominent Palestinian Christian family, she would later study in a convent and eventually move to France, where she met Arafat in 1989. She would later convert to Islam to marry the legendary Palestinian leader.
“Had I known what I would endure, I clearly wouldn't have married him. True, he was a huge leader, but I was lonely," said Suha
“We were married for 22 years; however it felt like it was 50," she told the Sabah journalist. "My life with him was hard I tried to divorce Arafat more than 100 times and he didn’t let me.”
Since Arafat’s death in a Paris hospital in 2004 Suha said she has had multiple marriage proposals,but rejected them all with the same answer: “Arafat was my hero.” Last year, she asked French authorities to open a murder investigation into her husband's death, and authorized the exhumation of his body.
Suha Arafat and her 17-year-old daughter Zahwa - Suha Arafat's Facebook page