Mendoza, Monday, 28 March 2005
Journalist Orlando Ragusa
is a friend country (view)
Interview with the ambassador of Palestine in Argentina, Suhail Hani Daher Akel
Suhail Hani Daher Akel is a firm man, hardened by the life. As ambassador of Palestine in Argentina he is always willing to settle the positions of his people in the conflict with the State of Israel.
–Which is the current situation of the Palestinian people about their possibilities of economical, social and cultural development?
–The situation of the Palestinian people is extremely hard. Our people live under a cruel occupation since 1967, which limits their economical, cultural and social development. We have all our frontiers controlled by Israel, our cities are divided and victim of an apartheid wall, which will have 720 kilometers of longitude at the end of 2005 and a path zigzagging and penetrating 30 kilometers within the border line. This means that Israel will annex the 58% of our land and it will keep the 85% of our waters. More than 300 thousands Palestinians will become refugees, loosing their houses and fields.
–Does Israel’s promise of withdrawing its forces of some occupied territories generate in Palestine a certain hope of constructing a free State?
–Israel, with the passing of the time, achieved to put in equality of conditions to the occupied and the occupant. When Israel unilaterally decides to withdraw of the Palestinian territories its converts the withdrawal in a democratic action, with the vote of the Parliament, it does not give us security and it does not comply with the resolutions of the UN 242 and 338 and the signed agreements which compel Israel to withdraw of the Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem. It also takes advantage of other maneuvers, like showing a compassionate Israeli government which offers concessions for the creation of a Palestinian state in a part of the Israeli land, when in fact, Israel was created within the Palestinian territory in 1948 and soon after the painful concessions of the Palestinian people, which lost the 78% of their ancestral land. Starting from that instance we try to restore the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, next to the state of Israel, as neighbors and friends.
–Can the PNA control to the groups, which are in disagreement with the treaties of ceasing of fire and of peace between Palestinians and Israelis?
–In an occupied country, plagued by a foreign army which kills and kidnaps, what can we control?. Israel destroyed our police force and our intelligence services established since 1994. Israel misunderstands the conflict. When they clamor security and they impose insecurity to our people and when they argue to be victims of the terrorism, imposing us a devastator terrorism of state. On the other side, we can not confuse terrorism with popular resistance in order to put and end to the Israeli colonialist occupation, in the same way as all the peoples resisted, even you, the Argentineans, in order to put an end to the British colonialism. We do not agree with the violence neither with the terrorism, which kill Palestinians and Israelis. But the mother of the violence and the terrorism is the Israeli occupation that gives no confidence to the Palestinian people and lamentably generates violence. But, by any chance, could Israel as a constituted state control the terrorism which assassinated to our partner in the peace, Yitzhak Rabin in 1995? I believe that only two full states and in cooperation can combat terrorism.
–Is Palestine a religious state or it contains many religions under a same people?
–Palestine is a Holy Land, where the three monotheistic religions were born. She received to the Iraqi Abraham, inside her, born and died the Palestinian Jesus and from that place the prophet Mohammed elevated himself to heaven. That is to say, Jews, Christians and Muslims always lived in this land in equality of rights. Only when the Zionism sought to found the Jewish state in Palestine and did it on the base of its terrorism, with the destruction of 418 Palestinian villages and cities, according to the very Yitzhak Shamir in 1991, the situation became confused. We continue considering to the Jew as part of our people, the same as the Christian and the Muslim, and all of them suffered along the history the impetuous attacks suffered in Palestine. The PLO always outlined a free, democratic and lay State and it will be this way, we hope that Israel take the example and not to be just a Jewish State.
–Which is the attitude of the international community toward the necessity of creating a free Palestinian State?
–The international community was the responsible of the partition of Palestine in 1947, without the consent of the Palestinian people. Later, it only recognized to one of the two states proposed by the UN: Israel. This is the difficult reading in order to interpret the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The international community has a moral debt with the Palestinian people, which is to help them in order to reconstruct their State, at least in the 22% that Israel occupies since the war of 1967, including its Capital East Jerusalem. The London summit of support to the Palestinian leadership on the part of the UN, Europe, the United States and Russia, on 1 March, aimed to “a safe and secure Israel and to an independent, viable, democratic and territorially contiguous Palestine, living side by side in peace and security,” and the convocation of peace of France, next July, are both an incentive. But they will only be words if the occupation, the wall and the current Palestinian holocaust do not end effectively. It is worth to point out that from September 2000 so far, Israel assassinated 3,656 Palestinians and 39,456 were wounded, destroying more than 7,500 homes and keeping imprisonment to more than 8,000 Palestinians.
– Is the Palestinian people willing to cede some historic rights, for instance, the city of Jerusalem, in order to construct a State?
–Jerusalem was our historical capital, it was founded by a Caananite-Palestinian tribe 3,500 BC. Along our lives we remained firm in it, resisting all the occupations from 1515 BC to the current Israeli occupation. In the partition of Palestine, Jerusalem should be an internationalized city, with the creation of Israel it occupied the western sector and in the occupation of 1967, it took the east sector of Jerusalem. Later, in 1980, Israel unilaterally and illegally declared it as its capital and indivisible city. The international community and the UN condemned this determination and the resolution 478 of 1980 demanded Israel not to modify the status of Jerusalem, not to convert it in its capital and requested to the member countries to keep its capital en Tel Aviv, the place where the world, including Argentina and the United States have their embassies. Anyway, in our painful concessions we accepted to restore our Capital in East Jerusalem, and President Abu Mazen continues the legacy of the leader Yasser Arafat in order to impose the Peace of the Braves definitively.
–Does the current national Government, headed by Néstor Kirchner, give evident signals of an approach to the Palestinian problem?
–Argentina always had coherence in regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It always sustained a position of recognition of the State of Israel and the self-determination of the Palestinian people in their own Palestinian State. President Néstor Kirchner’s government is in that line and we are proud of our bilateral relations, and we saw with great satisfaction that four Argentinean observers attended to our democratic elections of 2005 including the Chancellor Rafael Bielsa, who met with our leadership and put a floral offering in the tomb of the father of the homeland, Yasser Arafat.
–According to your point of view, has the Argentinean people knowledge of the Palestinian cause?
–The Argentinean people is an allied friend and very solidary, and I
believe that it interprets very well our Palestinian suffering and shares
our pain with its own pain. Argentina knows of occupation, because it still
has its Malvinas Islands under occupation.