Of the pen



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A life devoted to Peace among People and,
dignity and freedom for his Palestine people

Magazine Veintidos
Buenos Aires – Thursday, November 18th of 1999

Palestine and Israel, the corner of Akel (view)

When he became Ambassador, the smart Palestine Ambassador in Buenos Aires told the curious history of lobby he had to carry out in order to achieve a street junction with political sense.

Although Palestinians do not possess an independent State, its representative in Buenos Aires, Suhail Akel, managed a diplomatic triumph this week, inaugurating the Palestine Embassy: an old mansion in Riobamba street, donated by the Argentine government.

Ambassador Akel, born in Jerusalem in 1948, believes that his most difficult mission has not been the opening of he Embassy, but the achievement of the street junction between the streets “Palestine” and “State of Israel”.

The story is the following: Yasser Arafat, president of the Palestine National Authority, thought that the idea Akel was trying to achieve was sympathetic: a street in the Argentine capital with the name Palestine. However, both Arafat and the legislators from Buenos Aires City look at him in a surprised way when the Ambassador only demanded that that street crossed State of Israel.

“Some people interpreted it as a provocation, but we were interested in leaving an antecedent about the fact that cohabitation is possible”, Akel said. “I was lucky, I had inaugurated five streets with that name in different Argentine cities, but legislators thought that the idea of the street junction was a tricky situation. They called me many times and the same dialogue was always repeated. They told me: “Mr. Akel, we have a street which could have the name Palestine...” “¿Does it cross State of Israel?”, I asked. They always gave me the same negative answers. Many attempts crashed against my Palestinian perseverance. But one day, without giving me time to ask, they called me and finally told me : “we have a street for Palestine and it crosses State of Israel”.