Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat AFP photo

For years, former Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasser Arafat would condemn terrorist attacks against Israelis, but there was a question mark regarding the authenticity of his claims.

Now, Arafat’s former bodyguard has confirmed that the late PA chairman would lie when he condemned suicide bombings in Israel.

The bodyguard, Muhammad Al-Daya, made the comments in an interview on BBC Arabic which aired on April 3. It was translated and posted to YouTube by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Al-Daya revealed in the interview that after a suicide bombing in Israel, then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would call Arafat and pressure him to condemn the attack.

“Then Arafat would condemn the bombing in his own special way, saying: ‘I am against the killing of civilians.’ But that wasn’t true,” said Al-Daya.

He also justified Arafat’s actions, saying, “Islam allows you to lie in three cases: In order to reconcile two people...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.”

More than nine years after his death, Arafat has been making headlines in recent months. His widow allowed investigators to exhume Arafat’s body after traces of polonium-210 were found on clothing that she provided to scientists as part of an Al Jazeera documentary.

A team of Swiss scientists later claimed that it was likely Arafat was killed by polonium poisoning, though they clarified that the test results neither confirmed nor denied polonium was the actual cause of his death.

A team of Russian forensic experts later said that Arafat died of "natural causes", and ruled out radiation poisoning as a cause of death.

PA society has long given currency to the rumor that Arafat was murdered, with Israel the party most often blamed, but there has never been any proof. Israeli leaders for their part have repeatedly denied any role in his death, dismissing such suggestions as pure fiction.