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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Palestine Rises Again
A new intifada could be the end of the reign of Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat -- and the beginning of real hope for peace in the Mideast, argues Salim Mansur

Arafat's behaviour as another Arab tyrant has been deeply humiliating to Palestinians as a people under occupation. They deserved better from a leader who could not have returned from exile without their sacrifices.

The road map for a Palestinian state, backed by four powers (the U.S., Russia, the UN and the European Union), hinges on a complete disavowal of Palestinian terror.

This message may have finally reached the Palestinian "street" as masked gunmen demand accountability of their leaders. The current uprising may complete the circle by either driving Arafat back into exile, or in forcing him to bring democratic reform -- an historic first for the Arab League.

This third intifada, ironically, could well prepare the ground for a more realistic and mature re-engagement between Israelis and Palestinians in a greatly changed post-9/11 world.

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
And how's the wife?
I haven't caught up with Mrs. Yasser in some time, so today I googled for news of her. Write me, Suha baby, I don't want to have to google you!

For those of you unlucky enough not to know Suha, here's a little background:

Suha and Yasser met when he hired her to do public relations for the PLO in Tunis, where she nominally converted to Islam before they wed. "I married a myth," she said. "But the marriage helped him step down from his pedestal and become a human being."

Suha Arafat is like "a big mother for the people" according to the director general for international relations at the Palestinian tourism ministry. "She feels a lot for their miseries, and she's very popular because of it. At first they wanted to make her out to be frivolous, but really she lives much more modestly than the wife of almost any minister in her husband's government."

Suha lives in Paris on $100,000 a month from Palestinian Authority funds. According to rumors, Suha Arafat's mother, Raymonda, also lives extravagantly - apparently off international generosity and the Palestinian taxpayers.

"The last I heard, she was living in the Bristol Hotel, which is regarded as one of the premier hotels - if not the premier hotel - in Paris," an Arab source told the New York Daily News last year. "I understand that she has a whole floor to herself and her entourage, and that she has been living there for over a year. Must be quite expensive, especially given the financial situation of the Palestinians."

Asked by the French magazine Le Parisien why her daughter Zahwa was born in Paris instead of Palestinian territory, Suha Arafat explained, "Our child was conceived in Gaza, but sanitary conditions there are terrible."

Her daughter, Zahwa, looks like the image of the Palestinian leader -- if Arafat could be imagined as a 3-year-old girl with a blue hair ribbon.

"She is totally her father," Mrs. Arafat said. "A real authoritarian."

Lucky me, there's a next Arafat generation! And she looks so cute in her kaffiyeh and gun belt!

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