Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Nobel Award for peace

Any news of Soha Tawil Arafat?  Wife of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat?

This article describes the life of Soha Arafat from the day she met Yasser Arafat to the day she entered Gaza, in company of her husband Yasser.  You may read of Soha Tawil Arafat upbringing in the link attached to the note.

In 1987, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip started the first Intifada, known as the “The war of stones” against Israel occupation forces.  This summer, the entire family of Tawil are in vacation in Amman (Jordan) and pay a visit to Arafat:  Diana, the eldest sister, is the wife of the PLO representative Ibrahim Souss in Paris.

The PLO had moved from Beirut and Lebanon to Tunisia as Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and surrounded Beirut.  After the Palestinian militias vacated Beirut, Israel forces entered Beirut and committed the genocide in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila for three nights and two days on unarmed civilians.

Soha meets Arafat again in Algeria in November 1988 during the National Palestinian Council (parliament), a critical assembly because Arafat has to defend his status against many opposition factions.  Arafat speech satisfies the pre-requisites of the US and European States for starting a dialogue to the establishment of a Palestinian State.

Consequently, Arafat is on official visit in Paris, in May 1989, to discuss procedures with President Mitterrand.  The PLO bureau designate Soha to be Arafat translator and host, taking care of all protocol details. Arafat falls in love with Soha, and it is reciprocated.  When Arafat opens his eyes in the morning he demands: “Where is Soha?” and wanted to meet with her immediately.

Soha is aware that her closeness with Arafat as “economic advisor” will force Israel to denies her visits to her family in Jerusalem. Soha visits to Tunisia were frequent and Arafat allocated her a small house, one among many that belonged to Arafat on Tozeur Street in El Menzah.  Arafat barely visited that house, but when he did for occasional dinners, it was a horrible security undertaking.. Soha was 24 of age and accompanied Arafat to Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, and Belgrade…

One day, Arafat was taking a second look at the preparation for an official visit when he popped up the question: “Soha, I want to marry you. My intentions are pure and honest.”  Soha, 27 of age, accepted, but Arafat warned her: “Our wedding must remain a secret for a while.”  “What about my parents?’ replied Soha.  “In due time.  With the Intifada going and the Israeli repressions, the Palestinians will not swallow a happy event.”  Thus, Soha was married in secrecy on July 17, 1990 in Tunisia in the presence of two witnesses and an Imam:  She had to keep the role and image of advisor to the outside world.

Soha, a Christian Greek Orthodox converted to Islam, but kept going to church.  Arafat was the only Arabic leader to decree Christmas an official holiday, as well as January 7, because it is Christmas for the Greek Orthodox.

The irony was that, while married, many important Arabic and African leaders and personalities would approach Arafat to demand his approval for the hand of Soha.  When the airplane of Arafat vanished from the screen as he was returning from Sudan to Tunisia, the Palestinian leaders kept Soha in the dark, with no feedback on his whereabouts.  The two pilots sacrificed their lives by deciding to dive, so that Arafat, sitting in the back of the plane with his bodyguards, might have a chance to survive.  Arafat survived with serious concussion that requited urgent surgery a month later.

It is September 1993 and Soha is readying to leave with her husband to Washington DC for the signing of the “peace treaty”.

A Palestinian minister, at the headquarters of the Palestinian Resistance Movement (PLO) in Tunisia, summons Soha to his office: Arafat insisted that Soha was to join him, but the jealous Palestinian leaders, especially Mahmoud Abbas (current Palestinian President), refused to validate their visas at the US embassy until Soha desist from joining the team.

Soha has to bow down this first time and agrees to call off her invitation to the First lady Hillary Clinton.  Reporters flocked to Tunisia to interview Soha, and she watched the ceremony on TV.

Arafat will never forgive his ministers for the slap and will take Soha everywhere he goes on State visits from then on.

It is July 1994 in Gaza.  A small building of two floors, on the coast by Gaza City, was selected in July 1994 to be Yasser Arafat’s headquarter as he is expected to return to Palestine after the Oslo Agreement.  The building was an old Israeli military post attached to the navy.

The upper level is for the private use of Arafat and his new wife Soha.  The lower floor is for receiving the stream of people for requests, recommendations, and checks signed by Arafat.  In a few hours, Arafat is to fly to Norway and receive the Nobel Award for peace, along with Rabin (Israel PM) and Peres (Foreign affairs minister).

In this July 1994, Soha is pregnant, and Arafat already has this piece of intelligence from the physician Tibi, before Soha breaks in the news.  Arafat is generally one step ahead of most Arab State leaders in receiving pieces of intelligence. The couple rides a Mercedes at 5 am heading to the airport of Al Arish in Egypt.  It is a two-hours drive in bad roads to the border post of Rafah (by Egypt, and barely a 50-kilometers from Gaza City), passing by angry Israeli colonies, and the accompanying security vehicles are moving full speed: Arafat had skipped an attempt to his life a few weeks ago.

Eleven hours later, the couple lands in Oslo and are welcomed by a committee of the Nobel Institute, along with a sworm of journalists and photographers. Arafat jokes to Soha: “You are attracting the photographers and eclipsing me.”  The Institute is composed of 9 academics, including two women. The first official dinner was served at the 12th floor of the hotel. Soha is allocated a place facing Lea Rabin, while Arafat is on the right side of Lea.

“Lea is suggesting that I give birth at Hachomer hospital in Tel Aviv.  I swore that my first priority was to create a quality clinic in Gaza for pregnant Palestinian women.”  During the official ceremony, Rabin and Peres deliver true propaganda speeches, talking of the Jewish character of Jerusalem… Arafat reads a poetic speech, written by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwich.  Arafat speech focused on the zeal that Norway foreign minister Holst spent during the hard negotiation, and Arafat received a long ovation from the audience.

When Sharon PM of Israel prevented Arafat from getting out of his headquarter in Ramallah, Palestinian personalities started a wave of rumors that Soha is leading the great life in Paris and spending plenty of money…Do you have any news of Soha? What are her occupations and interests?

Note 1: In a previous article I wrote about Raymonda Hawa Tawil, the mother of Soha Arafat, and provided an overview of Soha’s upbringing https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/fighting-from-the-inside-who-is-raymonda-hawa-tawil-the-pasionaria-of-nablus/

Note 2: I just read in the Lebanese daily Al Nahar that Suha (this Tuesday Nov. 1) is living in the island of Malta since 2007.  The Tunisian government wants to prosecute Soha for establishing a university in Tunisia with the help of the wife of former dictator Ben Ali.  Suha replied that she had sold all her shares in 2007  to the daughter of the dictator’s wife Trabulsi.

Turkey is currently the main cornerstone regional power;

Erdogan next in line for Nobel Peace; (October 21, 2009)

In December 18, 2004 I wrote “Turkey: A Regional Power in the Making “.  In February 4, 2009 I updated my article “A Regional Power out of hibernation in the Near East“.  Another update is required because Turkey seems to vigorously and quickly act everywhere.

Turkey forgot the Islamic world for over 60 years and relied on its military to impose a secular state and emulate the Western culture in alphabet and in dress codes. Ataturk wanted to shed the image of backward Ottoman Empire that lost an Empire extending from Hungry to Iraq to Arabic Peninsula, the Near East, Egypt and all Northern Africa.

The other Empire to the east was the Persian Safafid Dynasty that extended to Pakistan. The Safafid Empire was founded by another Turkish leader and opted to adopt the Chiaa Moslem sect as the religion of his Empire.

Turkey is part of NATO (this year is its turn to lead the NATO forces in Afghanistan) thanks to the cold war against the defunct neighbor of Soviet Union: Turkey was the main effective ally to the US in the region during the cold war. Turkey was denied full membership in the European Union because the same Soviet Union disintegrated into “independent States” recognized by the UN.

France and Germany offered a rational for their refusal on ground of Turkey not satisfying the basic social and political requirement of a homogenous member.  For 60 years Turkey had turned its back to the Arab problems, and allied to the State of Israel and the Shah of Iran.

Things are changing fast after the horrors of Gaza and the tearing down of the mask of the Zionist ideology of terror, expansion, and apartheid.  Turkey was playing the fair mediator between Syria and Israel in order for the return of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Turkey was mediating between Israel and the Palestinians to render the life of the Palestinians under occupation more bearable during the peace negotiations for a separate Palestinian State.  Israel Olmert PM lied to the Turkish PM Erdogan before the barbaric re-incursion into Gaza.

Erdogan, Turkey’s PM is undeniably the most powerful leader criticizing the Zionist State for its genocide in Gaza. He canceled a joint military maneuver with the US and Israel. The US has nobody else to conduct military maneuvers but Israel in this region; the latest naval one is to last two weeks with objective to save Israel of mass missile attack!

Turkey, under Erdogan, is currently more powerful than the whole of Europe in the Near East for establishing peace, stability and equitable political resolutions.  Turkey is a self sufficient independent Nation and has ruled the whole Middle East for four centuries. Turkey has awakened from a long hibernation and decided to be a major regional power broker.

Turkey is demanding and acting as the main power broker in the Near East because it has interest in the stability of its south eastern borders with Syria, Iran, and Iraq.  So far, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq were peons for the larger policies of the US, Europe, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.

Turkey’s current policies beg to differ: “no more war zones at my borders and in my back yards“.

The US and Israel must have understood the message clearly and loudly. The so-called “moderate” Arab States of Egypt and Saudi Arabia are cowering down and are taken by surprise to the emergence of the new revitalized Turkey siding with the underdogs.

We are not hearing anymore about the Turkish war on the Kurdish self-autonomous movement.

I wholeheartedly wish that negotiations are secretly and seriously underway with the Kurdish Workers’ Party for a peaceful resolution.  The Kurdish problem was used by the USA and Israel to blackmail Turkey.

I have a feeling that the Kurds in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran appreciate the new directions of Erdogan’s government and would find in Erdogan a viable interlocutor and would cooperate with Turkey to lighten up this heavy burden of a useless and fruitless civil war. The new policy in Turkey is to open peaceful negotiations with the opposition Kurds; around 200 Kurdish leaders in the resistance movement have turned themselves in and all indicates that a resolution is palpable.

Turkey will be asked to exercise its beneficial influence in restoring peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region.  It will inevitably join the European Union with the unavoidable important changes that Turkey will have to accept and undergo in matters of democracy, liberty, human rights, social and economical constraints.

This transformation of a powerful neighbor will transcend into a drastic transformation of the societies surrounding Turkey. The benefits are already materializing in closer ties with Syria, pressures on Israel to agree on a Palestinian State, and greater normalization with Iran.

Turkey is obviously the main power that can provide autonomy to the Kurdish nationalism spreading among Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Turkey is the main power that can efficiently check US omnipotence in the Middle East and any resurgence of Russia militarism.

Turkey prevented Bush Junior to invade Iraq through its territory; the US air base in Interlink was prohibited to launch air raids on Iraq.  I have great hope in this new power amongst us, especially that the current Turkish government has proven to be far sighted and confident in its power and role in this region.

For a couple of years after Europe shut off the door for Turkey entering the Union Turkey felt the need to crawl in a cave and hibernate; Turkey shook off its lethargic attitude and is now in the driving seat and operating a strategy that befits its power in the Middle East.  It has surmounted tough obstacles in economic difficulties, human rights issues that are frequently reemerging, and demonstrations that are occasionally broken by brute force.

Turkey is no longer allowed to relax.  Turkey is quickly learning that it has to keep pace with the culture of Europe and to fight harder to catch up with lost time. Its dialogue with Syria has brought fruits: no visas are needed to cross joint borders, seasonal water resource shortages are frequently revised, and the western world had come to term that it can no longer circumvent Syria in this volatile region with Turkey’s backing.

Europe must be appreciating the decision of Turkey to play a major role in the Near East but the US is very wary because it refuses to share pre-eminence in the Middle East.  Turkey active diplomacy and clear policies should weight heavier in the decision process for joining the European Union.  The frustrations of Turkey with the EU must have given it a clear hint of what its policies should be based on and where its focus should be directed to.

Turkey is the new pivotal power in the Middle East in the coming decades.  It is the cornerstone for new emerging Northern Middle East Block with Syria, Iraq, and Iran.  This strategic block in formation is inevitable after the US troops leave Iraq and would constitute the best guarantee for this volatile region to peace and security.

Erdogan should have received the Nobel Award for Peace instead of Barak Obama who has no active records to show for earning this prize (Read my post “What that! Nobel Prize for Passivity?”  Erdogan has already executed peace treaties with his archenemies: Syria, Armenia, the Kurds, soon with Cyprus, and has definitely sided with the Palestinians against apartheid Israel.

Normally, Erdogan is in line for the peace prize. Judging from the trend, the cynical Nobel Committee never feels comfortable awarding Peace Prizes to Middle Eastern leaders unless it is shared with the devils such as Began and Peres. Erdogan got my highest prize and we all feel much more optimist in our future.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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