Parana – Sunday, November 4, 1990
According to a PLO directive
Gulf crisis must be solved by Arab countries (view)
Suhail Akel was born in Jerusalem in 1946. In 1948, with the creation of the State of Israel, he was expelled from his land and he became one of the 750,000 Palestinians who had become refugees. Today he is the director of the Palestine Information Office which has worked in our country for 6 years. It has the objective of “defending our people’s right and asking Argentina to “allow us to possess our own voice”, he stated in reference to the concerted effort to open a diplomatic representation. In a long conversation with El Diario, Akel referred to the present situation in the Persian Gulf, the PLO’s alliance with Iraq, the Intifada and the possible ways of achieving a solution to a conflict which carries decades of existence and thousands of deaths.
Are there any motivations? Could you describe the condition of the arrangements for the opening of a PLO embassy?
With regard to that issue, we are not asking for anything other people do not possess. Then if Israel possesses embassies, we, Palestinians, have the same right. A group of 15 parliamentary members submitted a declaration project in order for The Executive to facilitate the opening of an embassy. But we have had no answer yet.
Taking into account the present foreign policy in our country, could it be the reason for the lack of response?
While we continue awaiting, Congress has passed a resolution project submitted by deputy Natale in a few hours. According to the resolution project, Zionism is not regarded as a form of racism, just the opposite of what the United Nations has resolved on this issue.
This has been unanimously passed in times where Zionism is openly showing its worst side against our people.
Considering that there has been no good relation between the PLO and Iraq in several opportunities, why does this alliance with Iraq take place?
In a conflict between two brotherly people, the PLO has always been a mediator and it is going to continue being a mediator, who will work in favour of solving conflicts. However, if we deal with an aggression from the American imperialism and Israel, there is no doubt that we are going to be in favour of the brotherly Arab people.
Is there any solution to the present conflict?
This conflict is a problem which must be solved by the Arab countries. Americans have nothing to there. What is more, they invade our Arab land, trample our holy places and give Israel the possibility of making its dream come true –the one which was displayed in their Parliament in the 70s and which today remains within the hearts of many of its leaders-: “Israel, your borders from the Nile to Euphrates”.
This aggression starts to be seen in a coin in 1989 –it is worth about 10-shekel cents- and you are able to see a Jewish candelabrum over a map which is supposed to show the Israeli sovereignty on that land. The map includes Palestine, Jordan, parts from Lebanon, Syria, the richest regions in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, including Baghdad.
Does the PLO strategy appoint at regaining the protagonist role it had lost?
That is not true. Arafat’s image has never been eclipsed. It has daily improved. Today European Presidents are receiving him. The highest point has been the historic speech in the United Nations, where the United States had not allowed the Palestinian President to carry out his entry into that country. But this decision was overcome due to the vote of 154 countries. On the other hand, the PLO is the national identity of the Palestinian people. On December 8, we are going to reach a 4-year Intifada which is our anarchistic expression against the militarized State of Israel. It consists of facing the sophisticated chemical and conventional weapons with our sticks and stones. The PLO is heading this uprising.
Arafat gave a speech where he acknowledged the State of Israel, was it a political defeat for the PLO?
It was a defeat for Israel because we have defeated them in the political, military and economic fields due to the Intifada. We have recognized the State of Israel and all UN resolutions, including the one which approaches the partition, in order to give a political solution to the Arab-Israeli situation. We have declared the independence of the Palestine State from the exile, from Algiers. We have defended the need for a direct dialogue with Israel and the Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories. Militarily, we have defeated the powerful Goliath with our simple stones; economically, Israel has been damaged because it costs millions of dollars to sustain such a military structure against the Intifada.
Have you renounced terrorism?
We have not renounced terrorism because we have never been terrorists; on the contrary, we have been victims of the Israeli terrorism. We do not agree with any kind of terrorism. The world has understood it.
How does the PLO amalgamate such a varied amount of cultures and ideologies?
We have only one culture, only one root, and a sole language. The PLO has worked for a long time in order for the Palestinian people not to become uprooted, just as Israel and Mrs. Golda Meir pretended. No matter where they are, their love for land and the need for its restitution have always been the ideologies which have moved their hearts.
Could an international conference be the right place to start approaching a solution?
We have proposed and called out for a peace achievement within the framework of the United Nation, just as it is established by the resolution achieved in 1983. According to it, there must be an international conference among the 5 members of the Security Council, Israel and the PLO on an equal footing. At present, logically, the situation has changed due to the Gulf Crisis. We propose a global solution consisting of the withdrawal of the foreign forces which have invaded Arab land, the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories and a full sovereignty.
But the dialogue with the United States is cut off...
It has cut off the dialogue by means of foolish excuses. We believe that the Israeli Zionism has exerted pressure on the United States. Both US and Israel must understand that if they really want to achieve peace and an accord, they will have to sit with the sole representative of the Palestine State; that is, the PLO. We do not force them to establish a certain and specific person as their representative during the dialogue; therefore, we are not going to allow anyone to designate our representatives which, on the other hand, have been democratically elected by us.
What is life in the occupied territories like?
There are real concentration camps where Palestinians go through situations which have not been maybe experienced by Israelis in the Hitlerite camps.
We repudiate Nazi camps and we are really sorry that the Jews who were once victims of them have now become the henchmen of our people.
We, the Palestinians, have been the ones who offered our homes to those who ran away from the Nazi extermination camps...
The price of the Intifada...
We are paying a high price for our liberation. Since the beginning of Intifada, on December 8, 1987, there have been 1,900 Palestinian martyrs, near 70,000 injured people, 9,500 cases of women who had an abort due to the beatings and chemical weapons used by the police, the army and the Jewish settlers, hundreds of deported people and children with broken bones in reprisal for throwing stones.
Do you criticize the shipment of Argentine troops to the Gulf?
We do not criticize or condemn the Argentine government for its determination. We, Palestinians, are very respectful of the national government, democracy and Constitution. But we would like to say that Argentina may end up becoming an accomplice in a mass genocide which is being prepared for the Arab people in general and the Palestinian people in particular.
must remember that when Argentine regained its sovereignty over Malvinas,
the Arabs were the ones who put their forces at Argentina disposal in order
to face the American imperialism and English colonialism. Both of them had
once again come to seize sovereignty of Malvinas.