Palestinians were left furious after Suha Arafat, the widow of former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat apologized to the UAE for protests against UAE-Israel normalization, the New Arab reported.
The 57-year-old former first lady, who has not lived in Palestine since 2004, issued a long apology on behalf of all Palestinians in a rambling Instagram post, in which she apologized for Palestinians burning effigies of UAE leaders including burning images of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, which she called “the symbols of the beloved UAE country”.
"These are not our values, morals and traditions" https://t.co/0t3JLapehA
— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) August 23, 2020
“I want to apologize, in the name of the honorable among the Palestinian people, to the Emirati people and their leadership for the desecration and burning of the UAE flag in Jerusalem and Palestine, and for insulting the symbols of the beloved UAE.”
Arafat went on to praise the UAE for its ‘support of the Palestinian people’ and implored people to ‘read history’ to understand how the UAE have supported Palestine.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) August 14, 2020
“Our generations need to read history well to learn how the UAE supported the Palestinian people and cause in the past and present. I apologize to the people and leadership of the UAE for any harm done by any Palestinian to this generous and kind [Emirati] people, who have always welcomed us.”
The former Palestinian first lady even expressed a maternal responsibility, by singling out “the mother of the Emirates, her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak” in her apology to the Emirati leaders for Palestinians’ “irresponsible behavior”, in her words.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) August 18, 2020
The leadership of the Palestinian political party Fatah, of which the late Yasser Arafat founded, were quick to distance themselves from the apology.
Senior Fatah official Munir al-Jaghoub said: ”I did not mandate anyone to apologize on my behalf to the UAE after it normalized its relations [with Israel].”
“I think many Palestinians do not want to apologize to [the UAE] and did not authorize anyone to apologize,” he added.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) August 13, 2020
After the death of her husband in 2004, she and her daughter, Zahwa, moved to Tunisia and gained Tunisian citizenship.
However, in 2007, Tunisia revoked her citizenship. Four years later, the Tunis Court of First Instance issued an international arrest warrant for her in connection with a corruption scandal that involved the former Tunisian first lady, Leila Ben Ali.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)