Rosario, Santa Fe – Sunday, March 27 of 1994
FIRM INTENTION OF CONTINUING WITH THE WASHINGTON AGREEMENT
“The peace process is irreversible” (viewr)
Suhail Hani Daher Akel maintained that Israel will have to investigate the intellectual authors of the Hebron massacre and that this tragic episode is not something new for his people
“The peace process for Middle East, especially between Palestine and Israel, is irreversible. We want to continue with what was accorded in Washington on September 13, 1993. We do not want the process to stop, but we are simply asking for security for our people”. With that concepts, the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Argentina, Suhail Hani Daher Akel, summarized his position about the present situation of the Arab Israeli negotiations for the pacification of the region, during a recent visit to La Capital.
Consulted whether the bloody incident at the mosque in Hebron had an impact on peace negotiations, Akel said that “the perpetrator of this bloody incident was an Israeli settler (Baruj Goldstein), but we know that there are intellectual authors. We are asking Israel to quickly detect them in order for them to be judged as they deserve”. At the same time, he said that “the massacre has not concluded actually, and unfortunately, other 28 Palestinians have been recently killed in different incidents up to now. We believe that this situation represents a deadly blow to the peace efforts we are carrying out”.
About this matter, Akel added that “we, Palestinians, agree with the resolution 904 reached at the UNO Security Council on last March 18. It condemns the massacre and it requests Israel to permit the entrance of inter- allied forces to the territories in order to protect our people from the occupation forces”.
Likewise, he emphasized the need of blue helmets’ entrance “because, evidently, the Israeli occupation has not absolutely given any kind of security to the Palestinians after the signing of the agreement”. In that respect, he expressed that the protocols signed in Washington should have been put in motion on December 13 and that they also foresee the total withdrawal of the Israeli occupation forces from Gaza and Jerico on next April 14.
With regard to the autonomy plan in Gaza and Jerico, the Palestinian representative explained that “it is not about a definite autonomy but a transition period”. All measures needed to achieve that Israel respects UN resolutions 242 and 338 have been implemented. These resolutions are the bases of the Washington agreement and they foresee all necessities of the Palestinian and Israeli people to guide us towards a decent peace for both. As long as Israel starts fulfilling the assumed commitments, we are going to be protecting the Palestinian people from the constant massacres we are exposed to”.
Akel also expressed that the treatment of East Jerusalem is included in the peace agreement. “This matter –he said- is going to be analyzed in the next three years, within the 5-year transition period, from which the Israeli army must definitely demilitarize all the Palestinian territories occupied in the 1967 war. This includes Jerusalem, just as the UN resolutions demand. From there, we believe –without doubt- that both people will live in peace and harmony, in two States in the Palestinian land.
The transition period is primary bound to intensify the Palestinian-Israeli cohabitation, since there is a need for the Israeli people to meet with peace and a need for the Palestinian people to re-meet with a definitive freedom. “Both people have relations and bonds, but we want them to be decent for both. We believe that all people desire to live in peace, but in freedom fundamentally. We cannot continues being victims of an occupation which dates from several decades and victims of outrages, human rights abuse, massacres, repression and deportations”.
Again dealing with the episodes at the Ibrahim mosque in Hebron on last February 25, Akel maintained that Israel will have to find out who the intellectual authors of the massacre are. He emphasized that that bloody episode does not represent a new matter for Palestinians. Dating back to history, the PLO representative expressed: “Unfortunately, the massacre in Hebron is not an isolated situation. It is not the first time that our holy places have been offended. During a long time, many churches have been attacked for a long time and their priest and followers have been beaten”.
“They (Israelis) –he added- have an occupation army there. They are the ones who have permitted the entrance of settlers (around 200,000) and who have built around 250 settlement points, occupying a 53% of the occupied Palestine. These settlers are the ones who control a 90% of our water, carry war weapons and the Parliament allows them to use them”. Akel immediately explained the seriousness of the situation, pointing out that “there are around 20,000 weapons equal to the one used by the terrorist to kill 65 people and injure around 315 at the mosque. That is, all of them can be going off 750 projectiles per minute over us”.
But the Hebron case has a previous unhappy antecedent from the Palestinian point of view. “It is necessary to remember that an Israeli commission headed by a renowned judge also investigated the Sabra and Shatila massacre which took place from September 18 to September 18 of 1982. 5,000 Palestinians died as a result of it. Former prime minister Menachem Beguin and Ariel Sharon –who was a general at that time- were the main culprits according to this Israeli commission. Ariel Sharon is now serving his sentence as deputy of the Israeli Parliament”.
The Palestinian delegate emphasized that the occupied territories are in urgent
need of UNO forces’ security
(Map) Hebron was not the only massacre
*Ballad El Sheikh: January 1 of 1948: 30 deaths
*Dair Yassin: April 9 and April 10 of 1948: 360 people were killed
*Nasr Al Dim: April 13 of 1948: 40 deaths
*Salha: May of 1948: 75 deaths
*Beit Dars: May 21 of 1948: 38 deaths – village destroyed
*Sahrfat: February 7 of 1951: 10 deaths
*Bethlehem: January 6 of 1952: 10 deaths
*Qabiya: October 14 of 1953: 67 deaths – 56 houses were demolished
*Deir Ayub: November 30 of 1954: 3 children killed
*Gaza: February 28 of 1956: 39 deaths – 33 people were injured
*Qalquiyeh: October 10 of 1956: village was destroyed
*Kafr Kassem: October 29 of 1956: 48 deaths
*Rishon Le-Zion: May 20 of 1990: 10 deaths
*Jerusalem: October 8 of 1990: 32 deaths – 1,050 people were injured
*Hebron: February 24 of 1994: 63 deaths – 315 injured people