Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Israel has no right to humiliate Palestinians (view)
The Palestinian Ambassador, Suhail Akel, criticised Sharon, since he “is not a man who is compromised with peace”.
The Palestinian Ambassador in Argentina, Suhail Hani Daher Akel, said that the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, is not a man compromise with peace”. He stated that Palestinians are defending themselves against the Israeli occupation. He criticised the existing “carnal relationship” between the United States and its traditional ally in Middle East.
This is the conversation Puntal had with him:
-How do Palestinian people face the Israeli occupation?
-It is one of the most difficult times for the Palestinian people. Violence and the Israeli military re-occupation have increased since 2000 and during the latest 18 months of Sharon’s government. In 1994 the Palestinian government started the reconstruction, but Israel has turn it into destruction today.
-Before thinking of peace, is it possible to think of going back to the negotiation table with a government headed by Ariel Sharon?
-We have always said that we are prepared to talk with any Israeli leader. Without dating back to Mr. Sharon’s distant record and taking into account his actions during his mandate as Prime Minister, we believe that he is not a person who is compromised with peace or the humanistic area. He has proven to be a man of war; a man who tries to carry out an ethnic cleansing plan against the Palestinian people.
-According to the latest polls, Sharon’s popularity has declined considerably due to the re-occupation policy. In case of a political-sign change in a future Israeli government, does it arouse expectations of an improvement in relations?
-It is obvious that we want the Israeli people to carry out a policy which gives place to Sharon’s resignation so that they can choose a leader compromised with peace. But it is necessary to take into account that on September 14, 1993, we signed the declaration of principles with Israel being convinced that we were signing it with a State; not a man, party or organisation. Therefore, it is not possible that when a new Israeli leadership rises to power those agreements we have signed under the protection of the United States and Russia may be modified and we may be forced to sign new agreements which mean the destruction of more Palestinian territory. This is unacceptable. Fundamentally, we want Israel to respect UN resolutions in order to put an end to occupation.
-Unlike Clinton administration, Bush’s government has carried out an erratic policy in Middle East and it has not managed to lead peace negotiations. What do you attribute that American diplomacy’s error to?
-It is obvious that President Clinton had firmly committed himself to the Palestinian-Israeli agreement to put an end to the occupation. It is also obvious that President Bush carries out a profound and carnal relationship with Israel. We respect Bush’s opinion about the fact that Israel has the right to defend itself. Therefore, Palestinians should enjoy that same right, shouldn’t they? That is why we are defending ourselves from the occupation. Israel has no right to occupy the Palestinian territory and it has no right to subdue, humiliate and manipulate its leadership. So the United States must emphatically change its policy towards the region. It does not have to impose conditions on the occupied country, but on the occupant one; that is, putting an end to the occupation and the program of illegal settlements in the autonomous territories, especially in East Jerusalem.
-Is it possible to expect the European Union to actively meddle in the negotiation table in order to resume dialogue, which has totally come to a halt up to now?
-The European Union has co-operated and it has assiduously co-operated with Palestine. But the decisions of the so-called Four Group (UN, EU, United States and Russia) cannot crystallise because in all cases they are eclipsed by the decisions of one of them in: the United States.
-Israel constantly demands that the Palestine Authority takes control of Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Why does your government show itself powerless to fulfil that demand?
-Israel destroyed the Palestinian security system and police. And on top of everything, it urges us to take control of that issue. On the other hand, we do not understand why Israel has not been able to control the Israeli terrorist and fanatical sectors which kill those people who are compromised with peace. For example, a terrorist who killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.
-Arafat is not going too be in power some day, is there a possible replacement for him? Israel does not even regard him as a valid interlocutor.
-We do not care about Israel’s position. At the same time, thinking about a future re-changing is not a worry for us. How putting an end to the occupation worries us. Israel must withdrawal from our territory and permits us to have an independent Palestinian State. Its people must decide who their leaders are. Besides, Arafat is a democratic President who obtained 88,1% of the Palestinian votes in the 1996 elections. We do not want any foreign power to determine our future.
“Attacking Iraq is a serious mistake”
-The Unites States is determined to carry out a military operation against Iraq in order to put an end to Saddam Hussein. Is it going to have an effect on the Arab world and, especially, on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?
-I do not want to make predictions. But if the United States wages war on Iraq, it will be making a serious mistake. We have no desire to experience more wars and civilian deaths; we do not want people to suffer. We want to change death for life. If the United States decides to wage war on Iraq, it will be once again sounding the drums of war in the region. This does not benefit people, but a few individuals.
-For the time being, resistance to that future attack is increasing in the West and there is an almost-total opposition in the Arab world.
-In 1991, the United States could have had a kind of excuse because there was an UN resolution which urged Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. And the United States got the resolution fulfilled in six months. Which is the justification today? Iraq is not occupying another country, it is not a nuclear threat; its territory is divided into three areas by the conquering forces and its people are starving. We do not agree with the utilisation of the same death methodology used in Afghanistan. Why don’t the United States exert pressure on Israel, which has infringed all UN resolutions and human rights? Or is Israel a VIP country?
Photo: Meetings: Yesterday Ambassador Suhail Hani Daher Akel was declared Distinguished Visitant after a meeting with Mayor Alberto Cantero. They referred to the possibility of carrying out commercial agreements. During a visit to the University, the Superior Council and the diplomat established the basis for student exchanges. He also requested the Deliberating Council to name a street Palestine.