Suha Tawil Biography

Suha Arafat (born Suha Daoud Tawil) is the widow of former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

Suha was born in Jerusalem on 17 July 1963 into an affluent Christian family who lived in Nablus and then Ramallah (both cities under Jordanian rule at the time). Suha's father Daoud Tawil, an Oxford-educated banker, was born in Jaffa (now part of Tel Aviv). Daoud Tawil had business both in the West Bank and Jordan. Suha's mother, Raymonda Hawa Tawil, born in Acre, is a member of the Hawa family of Acre, prominent property owners in the Haifa area. She was a poet and writer. She became a politically active Palestinian militant after 1967 and was arrested several times by the Israelis, making her a media star. She was also a high-profile Palestinian journalist. Suha was raised Catholic. Suha, growing up in Ramallah, was influenced by the political activism of her mother conducted in the 1970s from her PLO-influenced news bureau in East Jerusalem.

Suha attended a convent school, Rosary Sisters' School, in Beit Hanina, Jerusalem. At age 18, she went to Paris to study, where she lived with her older sister, who was married to Ibrahim Souss, the PLO's then-ambassador to France. As a student, Suha was a leader in the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) in France, where she organized demonstrations for the Palestinian cause.