The Battle for Arafat's Secret Archive
By: Smadar Peri Translated from Yedioth Ahronoth (Israel).
Mahmoud Abbas has requested that secret intelligence documents belonging to Yasser Arafat be transferred from Tunis.
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Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that Yasser Arafat's secret documents be handed over from Tunis. The papers may include intelligence on the financing of terrorist organizations and contacts with political and security figures in Israel. Smadar Peri on the fight over who gets the treasure.Publisher: Yedioth Ahronoth (Israel)
The battle over Arafat’s archive
Author: Smadar Peri
First Published: May 3, 2012
Posted on: May 4 2012
Translated by: Al-Monitor
Piles of documents revealing the activities of Yasser Arafat, the iconic chairman of the Palestinian Authority, are presently held in Tunis. Sources familiar with the material say that the documents constitute true archival treasures, as they include fascinating information on the planning of attacks, funding sources of terror organizations and contacts with political and security figures in Israel. The current chairman of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas, is demanding to receive the documents.
A behind-the-scenes struggle over the “Arafat Archive” is underway: while the Palestinian Authority and Chairman Abbas submitted an official request to Tunis, the Hamas leadership in Gaza and Arafat’s widow, Suha Arafat, are also trying to get their hands on the rare documents.
The assumption is that the documents reveal, among other things, secret contacts that took place with political and security figures in Israel, information on terror attacks against Israeli targets and the funding of activities of Arafat and other senior officials in the organization.
Arafat himself refused to transfer the archive from Tunis, fearing Israel would seize it, as it did with the Palestinian archive in Beirut during the first Lebanon war.
Abbas has not received an unequivocal answer. Assuming Arafat’s archive remains in Tunis, Abbas demands photocopies of the documents be transferred to the PA’s Ramallah offices.
“This is our national and operational history,” the Palestinian press writes. “If there are secrets, the time has come to expose them, even if it causes embarrassment to leaders and intelligence heads in the Arab community.”
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