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Newspaper LA NACION
Buenos Aires, Friday, November 12, 2004

“Die in exile” (view)

By Suhail Hani Daher Akel *
For The Nation

The Palestine People woke up with grief and tears. Their leader had died. It was a special day. There were hardly 48 hours to end Ramadan and just 96 hours to remember Arafat’ s voice declaring the Palestine State Independence from Algeria on November 15, 1994.

After a long exile, he went back to Palestine in 1994 in order to stay, pray in Jerusalem, achieve a definitive peace, return the State to his People and die in his land. However, as a result of the ill treatment of the fence - which his health was unable to overcome for the precarious health assistance - imposed by Ariel Sharon, he had to be hospitalised in Paris. And after ten years, the experience of being in exile again.

But this time, he met his death in that remote place and, even though France and Egypt offered to give him a presidential rank, his funeral was carried out far away from his land.

In Ramallah, his people overcame the walls. I wanted to be near the Homeland Father. His pseudonym, Abu Ammar (father of the construction), was heard at every corner. “Abu Ammar has died... Abu Ammar is alive in us”. He will be temporarily buried in his destroyed presidency in Ramallah until it clears the way which definitely takes him to Jerusalem. His soul already remains lie in the celestial Jerusalem.

Israel made President Arafat an obstacle to peace. But the occupation, the wall and the “Apartheid” regime are the obstacle. The illegal settlers are the obstacle. The Israeli forces in the Palestinian streets are the obstacle. Arafat and our partner with regards to peace, Yitzhak Rabin, have always been an obstacle to Sharon. He is not committed to peace, but to war. The isolation he imposed to Arafat ended up being a slow death, which made Arafat become a martyr of his cause, his people, freedom and peace of both people: Palestine and Israeli.

The President Arafat’ s legacy is already waving over minarets and domes in Jerusalem. It is the legacy of freedom, independence and respect to the other person. The President Arafat has always looked for this way and he has given his life. The Palestine People and their leadership, despite the moving absence of their leader, already launched the democratic institutions and they will continue with the Homeland Father’ s legacy, hopes and words: “Do not forget we have survived to the Roman empire”

* The author is the Palestine Ambassador in Argentina

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