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A life devoted to Peace among People and,
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Newspaper La Voz del Interior
Cordoba – Sunday, November 23, 2003

Suhail Hani Daher Akel, Palestine Ambassador in Argentina

We must honestly speak of terrorism (view)

Sergio Gorostiaga

With the construction of this wall, Sharon’s government divides cities and gets into Palestinian homes. According to us, as soon as this wall is finished, there will be around 90 and 200 thousand refugees who are going to be thrown out of their houses, countries and roots. Therefore, Israel could expropriate 58% of our territory. But we are not going to accept it. A 18-kilometer wall crosses our capital city, Jerusalem, causing a deep unease among the parishioners and foreigners who visit the holy places of the three monotheist religions in order to pray. This is a provocation not only towards our people but also towards the international community”.

In this way, the Palestinian ambassador in our country, Suhail Hani Daher Akel, warns about the construction of this great cement mass which is over 10 metres high in some areas. It becomes a new strained element in the already convulsive cohabitation of two nations in Middle East.

-What is the United Nations’ attitude towards this?

-In a special session which took place some days ago, 144 countries voted against the Israeli attitude. Besides they rejected the criminal attitude against the Palestinian population, which is constantly shaken for selective killings and civilian deaths. Argentina is one of the countries which has voted against this attitude. On the other hand, from Brussels, the European Union has recently urged Sharon’s government to put an end to the wall construction. However, Israel ignores it, infringes UN resolutions and continues with its plan, which is supported by the United States.

-Considering the present events, what instance is the peace process in?

-The so-called “Route Map” is a determination reached within the frame of the Committee of Four (European Union, United Nations, Russia and United States) which started working in April 2002. Israel rejected 14 points from that negotiating strategy in spite of the fact that we had accepted the process with several objections. Settlements have continued, prisoners in Israeli prisons have not been set free and selective and mass killings have continued. In spite of the fact that these events were taking place, they asked us for the finalisation of terrorism, urging us what we were not able to offer. They demand something from the occupied country, when they should demand it from the occupant force. If Israel does not put an end to the occupation in our territory, we cannot ask our people not to offer resistance.

The business of these opportunists finishes when we may have a Palestinian state which may be able to peacefully live with an Israeli state”.

-According to Israel, its attacks are a result of a series of suicidal attacks in its territory and they have been carried out by groups such as Islamic Jihad or Hamas. What do you think of it?

-We are totally against terrorism, we do not agree with anything which becomes some bloodshed in both people. It is necessary to clarify that violence is the mother of violence and it is irremediably going to cause more suffering. You cannot ask the Palestinian people not to offer resistance. We have no desire that suicides exist and Israelis die; we want to live in a peaceful and calm atmosphere. But what we can ask to a suicide who took a personal decision, even persuaded by some groups, as a result of the fact that he saw a F-16 plane destroying his house, killing his family and destroying his hopes and dreams. We are not referring to weeks or months, but 36 years of Israeli occupation and 55 years of a Palestinian catastrophe. We must not forget that the State of Israel established itself on our nation and it kept 78 per cent of our lands. Israelis occupied Jerusalem which was going to be an internationalised city on an earlier occasion. That is, we are fighting for 22 per cent of the historical Palestinian territory, around 6,212 square kilometres. What else can you demand from the Palestinian people? That is why we have to find a way where both people may be able to economically develop, because there is no doubt that they are bound to live together. And Israel must understand it and stop using the official terrorism myth, when they carry out a State terrorism. We must not forget that there is too much evidence that Israel is a nuclear power capable of destroying several nations in a matter of seconds. We are facing this situation.

-I understand, but how are these groups disbanded?

-On last June 29, we managed to stop the attacks and these two Palestinian resistance forces did not break the truce. However, Israel did not respect the cease-fire and it continued with the selective killings on the following day. At President Arafat’s request, our Prime Minister Abu Ala is trying to neutralise this situation. But if we are going to referrer to terrorism, we must speak of it with an intellectual honesty and we must clarify which side was the first one which started introducing terrorism in the region.

-In this context, does the explosive situation in Iraq produce an effect?

-We have always said that Iraq did not possess nuclear weapons, it was not ready for it. UN observers clearly stated that Israel did not have those weapons, but the United States continued believing it and destroyed the country. Today there are clear consequences: Iraq is an unstable country which is harassed by death and a country where Human rights are constantly violated.

-I get the feeling that several sectors which have their own interests, such as Al Qaeda, join the “Palestinian cause”.

-There is a saying which indicates that you can make wood from a fallen tree. Well, we are not a fallen tree and we are not going to accept that anybody makes firewood from our cause. There is no doubt that there are always opportunists on both sides and even Zionist opportunists who refer to the fact that the Palestinian people have the right to have their state, but if you go deep into the subject, they tell you that the state should be in Jordan. Last year president Arafat was very clear when he asked Bin Laden not to interfere any more. You do not understand why Bin Laden is so interested in Palestine, because he has never helped our people. We know the on-duty opportunists, as well as, we have knowledge of those who are interested in taking advantage of the Israeli people’s suffering and grief because we have clear knowledge of the ailment experienced by the Jewish people and we have knowledge of the persecutions they have been exposed to. The business of these opportunists finishes when we may have a Palestinian state which may be able to peacefully live with an Israeli state.

-Finally, What is President Yasser Arafat’s health condition like?

-Arafat finds well, he is strengthened and he has a clear mission. I do not understand why you are so worried about his health. I believe you should interested in urging Israel to put an end to the military fence they have imposed on Arafat. On last August 13, his sister died and Israel did not allow him to attend her funeral.

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