Suha Tawil was born in Jerusalem on July 17, 1963. Her parents were affluent Christians. Her father, Daoud Tawil was an Oxford educated banker and her mother, Raymunda Hawa Tawil came from a prominent family of property ownes in Acre. Suha was raised a Catholic, and went to a convent school in Beit Hanina, Jerusalem. Her mother became a political activist after 1967 and was arrested many times by the Israelis. Suha was influenced by her. At age 18 she went to study in Paris and organized demonstration for the Palestinian cause.
Suuha first met Arafat in 1985. When he visited France in 1989, she acted as interpreter. Soon after Arafat left France, he asked her to come work for him in Tunisia. Suha converted to Islam, and secretly married Arafat on the 17th of July of 1990. She was 27, he was 61. They had one daughter Zahwa who was born on July 24, 1995.
During Suha’s marriage to Arafat, she tried to leave him many times, but was not permitted to. In 2004, November 11, Arafat died.
Last year, on 27 November, Suha requested that, Arafat’s body be exhumed in the West Bank, in order to have samples taken from his remains. The purpose of the exhumation, according to Suha, was to determine whether he was poisoned from Polonium.
The Swiss scientists who tested Arafat’s remains after the exhumation of his body discovered levels of polonium at least 18 times higher than usual in Arafat’s ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his bodily fluids.
“We are revealing a crime. This has confirmed all our doubts,” said Suha to reporters. While she did not do any finger pointing at any country, organization or person, the PLO had many enemies. It will be interesting to see where the investigation leads, and if anyone will ever be charged with Arafat’s death.
Suha and her daughter are mourning him again.