Of the pen



Olive Trees for Peace


Personalities in Photos



In the Acadaemic



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


Newspaper La Capital
Mar del Plata – Tuesday, May 23 of 2000

The Palestine ambassador visited Mar del Plata

Our people are bound to fight for their liberation (view)

The Palestine Ambassador in Argentina, Suhail Hani Daher Akel, carried out a protocol visit to this city. He insisted on the fact that Israel is not interested in reaching peace in Middle East.

The Ambassador of the Palestine National Authority, Suhail Hani Daher Akel, called for the restitution of peace in Middle East and he criticized Israel for not fulfilling the accords which were signed to return the occupied territories. The objective of his visit was having a meeting with the major political authorities in the city, as well as, carrying out the plantation of an Olive Tree, as a symbol of peace. The representative from the Palestinian community was received by Zulema Muse, who took him to Plaza Rocha (Rocha Square), the same place where an olive had been planted on February 25, 1994. But strangers pulled it out and he returned to plant another one again “because it proves that we do not loose interest in our search for peace”. During a pause in his protocol activities, he had a conversation with La Capital about what he thinks of the past, present and future of the Palestinian people.

-What does peace mean to you?

-We believe that peace is a very important and necessary tool. You must not forget that Palestine is the land of peace, the land of prophets. Palestine is the land where God stretched out his hands. It is the land of the three monotheist religions and the land of peace. So we have the duty to keep the peace there.

-Why do you believe that reaching peace is very difficult, nowadays?

-Keeping the peace is not difficult. There are some people who want to make it difficult for some interests. We have opened our heart, our hands. We have started this process and we are not on an equal footing. We are facing a militarist State, such as Israel, which has not respected any UN resolution. It has not even respected the birth resolution of that international body. It just started occupying more territory up to the point of occupying all Palestine. That is why it has been so difficult: they have denied the national rights of Palestine, when we have not denied their rights.

-How do Palestinians live today?

-Palestinians are long-suffering people who are bound to fight for their liberation, people who are now fighting for liberating themselves from the yoke of oppression. The Palestinian people survived 50 years of much suffering, four centuries of Ottoman occupation and 2.000 years of several occupations.

-Have there been an approximation towards world communities in recent years?

-Yes, it has been possible due to the fact that the Palestinian people regained control of a part of its territory. I have to remind you of the fact that everybody believed that we were just a refugee matter when the partition of Palestine took place in 1948. In 1965, when we took our weapons to fight for our liberation, they tried to minimize our fight calling us terrorists. After the Intifada, which begun in 1987, we started regaining control of our identity, our lands and our roots which we have never lost.

-Do you believe in reconciliation?

-We have proven that we started the reconciliation process. But even when it is not easy, both our president Yasser Arafat and our people have clearly proven that we are prepared to live together, have tolerance and have conversations. We have opened a new stage in negotiations. According to the accords signed on September 13, 1993, and on May 4, 1999, the Palestine State should have been proclaimed and restituted. But the lack of intelligence of the previous Israeli administration (Netanyahu), which froze the accords, did not allow us to give such important steps.


-Are you saying that accords are reached with people, not with States?

-In this case, yes. This has transformed these accords into the accords of the accords... In 1993, we signed an agreement which allowed us to dialogue and share the stances of both people after a five-year transition period. But Israel took advantage of those years to create new illegal settlement points, continue negating the refugees’ rights, continue negating our legitimate right with regard to our capital city, East Jerusalem. With the new Israeli leadership, we had to sign new agreements, rules and concessions.

-Has it made you loose your strength?

-It not only has caused this effect but also frustrations to our people and the Israeli people. It permits the most fundamentalist sectors carry out a destruction plan which affects peace in Middle East.

-That is why clashes continue today...

-You know what is going on in my country right now. We had agreed that no Palestinian political prisoner could continue being in prison and concentration camps from 1994, but today there are still over 1,700 prisoners without trial or sentence. It is a violation to Human Rights. This has been pacifically claimed, but injustice has been put into use here. A State rose and it postponed another one.

-What is Palestinians’ life like, today?

-Actually, we have experienced other occupations. But we have to remember what our president Arafat says: do not forget that we have survived the Roman Empire.

-How does Palestine have control over it Economy?

-Nowadays, the Palestinian economy depends on the Israeli one, which is an inflationary economy. It does not favor our interests. We built an airport which was donated by Japan and the European Community, but it cannot be used for international flights even when it counts with the best infrastructure. In Gaza, we have a port facing the Mediterranean See, but Israel does not allow us to build it. All this hampers our economy. On the other hand, we have not been able to put our currency into use and it is being displaced. For our development, we have to use foreign currencies (Israeli, Jordan and American currency). But in spite of the fact that we have faced many difficulties, tourism and commercial activities have increased in those cities which were returned such as Ramalda, Gaza, Bethlehem, o Jerico, which counts with an important casino (it deals with 1 million dollars a day). It is even visited by many Israelis from Tel Aviv.

Photo: Daher Akel dialogued with city mayor Elio Aprile and he showed himself satisfied with common projects. The Palestine Ambassador said that his people wait for peace in Middle East.

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