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Newspaper Clarin

Buenos Aires – Friday, May 19 of 2006

He was born in Jerusalem in 1946 and he is now analyzing the fact of going back to his land

Finalization of Palestinian Ambassador’s tenure (view)

Interview: Paula Lugones

Suhail Hani Akel today says goodbye at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “I have completed a stage”, he says.

Palestinian Ambassador to Argentina Suhail Hani Daher Akel entered diplomacy through its back door. Today he says goodbye in a farewell party at San Martin Palace. 


He was born in Jerusalem in 1946 and he and his parents had to leave the city in 1948, after the creation of the State of Israel. There he left some of his relatives, who still continue living in the over-8-century familiar house in a stone-pavement street in the Ancient City. Now he is making arrangements for his diplomatic retirement and he does not know whether or not to go back to his land, where he was offered a job at the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Every day in my life, I have worked to go back, but now I find it difficult to incorporate my family –his wife and four children- in a scene of violence they are not used to”, he informs Clarin.


In 1990, Yasser Arafat asked Akel to open a Palestine Liberation Organization office in Buenos Aires. “It was a difficult reality. The Argentine people were helpful, but there wasn’t such a structure for the establishment of our official representation. This starting getting worse due to the Gulf War and then the terrorist attacks against the Embassy of Israel and AIMA”.


“Our challenge –Akel continues- consisted in the fact that we wanted the Argentine people to learn that the PLO had nothing to do with that actions and it wanted to start a friendship with Argentina. We wanted our demands to be understood”.


In Argentina and Middle East, the fight was almost parallel. In 1994, when Arafat had already signed Oslo agreements with Israel and the United States, Akel was named OLP Representative in Argentina. This was a complicated situation with regard to protocol: “I used to be placed with international organizations such as World Bank”. In 2000, he was given Ambassador rank, a category which is similar to that of the European Union. That is, without a definite State. Finally, in November of 2004, the Representation became Embassy of the Palestine Mission and it possesses the same rank as any other country.


Apart from the struggle for recognition, Akel –an author of five books- emphasizes, among some achievements, the sending of 7 White Helmets missions to Gaza Strip and Cisjordan, as well as, the establishment of 5 streets “Palestine” in the country. The Government handed over an elegant house which is located in Riobamba Street to Palestine in order for it to establish its diplomatic see. It was Akel’s achievement.


-Why are you leaving?

-I have completed a stage.


-Is it related to Hamas’ new government?

-I have a good relationship with Hamas’ government.


-But you are highly identified with Arafat...

-We may have political differences with Hamas, but we have common objectives.


-Is is related to the Palestinian government’s economic climate? Officials have not gotten their wages for months...

-Everything is related to everything.


-You were born in Jewrusalem. How would you like to see the city in the future?

-I would like to see it being the capital city of Palestine, three religions and people who loves peace. I would like to share it between two people: the Palestinian people and the Israeli ones.             

age in spanish