Buenos Aires – Wednesday, January 30 of 1991
Interview with the Palestinian representative in Argentina
“We support the great Arab cause” (view)
The Director of the Palestine Information Office in the Argentine Republic, Suhail Akel, expressed the PLO’s unconditional adherence to the “great Arab cause” and the support to Iraq in the present Persian Gulf conflict.
Akel expressed “his worry about the fact that Israel is trying to play a victim role”, pointing out that Israel is one of the most important militarist countries and it has constantly attacked the Arab land”.
This is part of the dialogue Akel maintained with La Nacion:
- What do you think of Israel’s moderate stand until now?
- I do not think that Israel may generate sympathy in the world when it has 2,200,000 Palestinians locked in their houses, without anti-gas masks with exception of a few ones which were sold to them, with a shortage of food and medicines. When the Scud missile fell in West Bank, Israel did not even bother to launch its Patriot ant-missile. In other words, we have become hostages, human shields.
- What is the PLO’s attitude in this conflict?
- The PLO has proposed to detain the war and find out a political solution. Before the beginning of the war, Arafat suggested carrying out a-four-point plan, which was the following: 1) allied forces’ withdrawal; 2) Iraqui forces’ withdrawal; 3) location of an Arab deterrent force; and 4) a plebiscite in Kuwait to decide the government for the emirate.
Now it is Israel the one which must show goodwill for the total establishment of peace, by means of the acknowledgement of the Palestinian rights, just as we have recognised the Jewish State in our 1988 declaration.
From the moment war burst out, we are –as always- defending the great Arab cause. If an Arab country suffers an aggression, we will be on its side.
- Does not your adherence to Saddam affect the PLO?
- Some ones are trying to show an international coalition against Bagdad, but there are 159 countries in the world and only 20 of them take part in this war. If war goes on, it will be a fratricidal struggle. And no one will benefit from it because desolation, chaos and death will only remain.
On the other hand, the world community did not adopt similar methods when Israel attacked Palestine and we are dealing with a-24-year invasion.
- Saddam has said that he would be pleased to see terrorist attacks against American and Israeli targets anywhere in the world. Does the PLO support such a tactic?
- We reject all acts of terrorism because we have always been victims of Israeli terrorism. Many of our leaders have been killed. Nothing can be achieved by means of violence, but by means of an open, sincere and frank dialogue.
- President George Bush has recently said that as soon as war ends up, the Palestinian problem should be discussed. How could the issue be faced?
- We have accepted the 1983 UN resolution, which called for an international peace conference. The five members from the Security Council and the representatives from the State of Israel and the Palestine State were going to take Part in the Conference. Now time and events have surpassed the project and all regional problems should be included.
What we do fully reject are the Camp David accords, which give the Palestinian people their autonomy. We do not want that, but our self-determination. Otherwise we would become an Israeli province.
Furthermore, the problem has been the fact that Israel does not recognise our authorities. We have not questioned the Israeli leadership or its terrorist past. We respect its sovereignty and that is why we ask it to respect our authorities, who were democratically chosen. Our highest authority is Yasser Arafat, just as the UNO, the European community and the whole international community recognises him.
- What are the borders you would claim in that hypothetical conference?
- We only request to return to the 1967 borders. That is, less territory than the one UN had given us in 1947 due to the partition plan. And what a paradox: a 23% of the territory we claim consists of West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. And Israeli settlers occupy 53% of that percentage. In coming the years, thousands of Soviet Jews are going to arrive in Israel and we believe that their final stop is the occupied territories.
- What is presently happening with Intifada?
- It goes on intact. We share Israel’s worry with regard to an attack with poison gas, but our people have been suffering the consequences of these gases –which are used by Israel- during the last four years. There are over 4,000 cases of pregnant women who lost their children due to this, children suffer beatings and houses are blown up in case activists may live there.
Notwithstanding, I must remind you that our fight for our own land has not exclusively been against Israel. Actually, it began earlier: we fought against the Ottoman invasion, we resisted the 1922 British mandate, we did not acknowledge the right to a National Jewish Home Balfour pretended and, of course, we rejected the creation of the Jewish state in our territory by the UN in 1947.
- Do you believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has another battlefield and that its objective is the world public opinion?
- I remember that in 1969 Golda Meir said: “Nothing can be called Palestinians, they simply never existed”. Then it was the first time that the world had been able to see on TV how the Israeli army attacks our people.
And as another piece of data, I want to remind you Shimon Peres’ comment to a Norwegian journalist some months before the beginning of Intifada: “Your cameras are more dangerous than our tanks”. Our martyrdom became widely known.