As Palestinian Authority president, Yasser Arafat’s public condemnations of terror attacks against Israeli civilians were lies born of Egyptian pressure, his ex-bodyguard said.
In an interview with BBC Arabic last week, newly translated by media watchdog group MEMRI, Muhammad Al-Daya said that Arafat “would condemn the bombing in his own special way, saying: ‘I am against the killing of civilians.’ But that wasn’t true.”
The denouncements were not issued of Arafat’s own volition, Al-Daya explained, but were rather the result of badgering by the then-Egyptian president.
“This would happen due to pressure, especially by President Hosni Mubarak,” he said. “Mubarak would call Arafat and say to him: ‘Denounce it, or they will screw you.’ Arafat would say to Mubarak: ‘Mr. President, we have martyrs. The [Israelis] have destroyed us. They have massacred us.’ But Mubarak would say to him: ‘Denounce it, or they will screw you.’”
These lies were in no way opposed to Islamic law, Al-Daya continued.
“Islam allows you to lie in three cases: In order to reconcile two people,” he said. “If your wife is ugly, you are allowed to tell her she is the most beautiful woman alive. The third case is politics. You are allowed to lie in politics.”
Arafat was the chairman of the PLO from 1969-2004, and PA president from 1994 until his death in 2004. While he was in office in the PA, the Second Intifada erupted, sparking a wave of suicide bombings and other attacks throughout Israel, which consistently accused him of sanctioning the attacks.