Jujuy – Monday March 20, 2006
with Suhail Hni Daher Akel
Jesus Christ has been the first Palestinian Martyr (ver)
He was born in the ancient city in Jerusalem and he was expelled from there after the creation of the State of Israel. Today he is the Palestine Ambassador in Argentina. He says that the word “peace” has been the most usable one by dictators and war criminals. He visited Jujuy and he planted and Olive Tree for peace at Perico’s church.
El Tribuno de Jujuy
-Has Yasser Arafat’s death given place to a power vacuum or opened a possibility for groups such as Hamas, which governs Palestine today?
-President Yasser Arafat is the homeland father. Mr. Ariel Sharon and Israel are responsible for Arafat’s death. They besieged President Arafat in the Mukata, putting him to death after three years. It was an Israeli strategy in order to weaken the Palestinian revolution and the peace process.
Nevertheless, we have internationally proven that we are a model country, although we are living under an occupation. We are well organised and we have shown a maturity way during the last elections which President Abu Mazen has won. When the opposition won the legislative elections, the decision of the Palestinian people was immediately respected and Hamas’ triumph was accepted.
-The international community does not seem to be satisfied with those efforts you have mentioned because it has not recognised Palestine as a State, yet...
-This is very difficult and we regret it because the international community is responsible for having divided my country. The international community is responsible for the creation of the State of Israel on my country. I want to remind you about the fact that Israel is a country which has been able to establish itself due to UN resolution 181/2. Finally, it occupied a larger percentage of territory than the one previously established by the United Nations. The United Nations gave them 55% and they took hold of 78%. The international community should reflect on this situation. We cannot accept the fact that the Palestinian people who are living under the occupation become humiliated. Some sort of humiliation based on famine and indifference. Besides, while their democratic rights are not recognised, they are being humiliated. When the United States and Europe said that they would not recognise Hamas if Hamas did not leave aside terrorism, they were oppressing the Palestinian people because they were the ones who voted. I also want to remind you about the fact that there is an extreme-right government in Israel. Europe would not accept that any European country had an extreme-right party in power. However, it allows Israel to have it. When the extreme-right wing won in Likud, no one urged Likud party or Israel to recognise the Palestine State. When Sharon became Premier, no one urged him to turn up at the Belgian Court to face accusations of crimes against humanity. Then, why is the occupant power allowed to move freely? Why is the occupied country demanded from almost everything? We are asked to leave aside terrorism. Making people believe our resistance is a kind of terrorism is the great objective. This is unacceptable...
-However, some sort of dialogue was occasionally regarded as a mediator between Arafat and Sharon in the construction of the peace process...
-There has been no dialogue or possibility of dialogue with Sharon. Sharon has come to power to destroy all the peace process and build this Apartheid wall...
-Where should the peace process start from, then?
-The process depends on mutual respect and acknowledgement. If the State of Israel never recognises the Palestinian State, we will never be able to speak of peace. We have clearly stated that we are prepared to live next to the State of Israel. However, they have not recognised us, yet. In his latest declarations, the provisional Israeli Prime Minister said: “Israel is going to establish its borders from here to 2010, including Jerusalem and the Jordan”; this is the stretch of this Apartheid wall which is keeping an additional 58% of the Palestinian territory, 85% of the Palestinian waters. An Apartheid wall which is giving rise to 300 thousand refugees.
Therefore, we do not admit that our popular resistance against occupation’s Israeli colonialism may be regarded as terrorist, when we are victims of the terrorism developed by the State of Israel..
-Is it possible to leave aside the armed resistance and weigh up other options?
-...But unlike Israel, we have no weapons, army, Apache helicopters, F-16s, tanks, toxic gases. Unlike Israel, we are not a nuclear power. We are a country which wants to be free. Israel reproaches us for suicidal attacks and we do not agree with them either. We would like to explain why Palestinians make the decision to kill themselves in such a way. According to us, those people who give their life in such a way have lost everything. They have lost their family, their house; their parents, children and friends have been killed; they feel as if they had no future or hope because everything look black, because they have promises of being free and because they have been living under a permanent occupation and submission for decades... We are sorry that Palestinians and Israelis die in such a way because the great majority of the Israelis agree with the peace process and do recognise Palestine as a State.
But the problem is that the occupation is the mother of violence. We have knowledge of it; so we have recognised Israel, we want to achieve peace, we have yielded over 78% of our painful concessions in order for the State of Israel to exist, we have decided to have conversations and divide Jerusalem between both states.
-Does Hamas’ idea of state differ from that of the Palestinian and Israeli people?
-...Hamas is a movement which has won the elections. But there is no doubt that Israel has strengthened Hamas when it has not fulfilled the international agreements and it has carried out this chaos policy within Palestine. We are a democracy and we expect Hamas to go ahead with the desire to be free, independent and sovereign. Hamas and Fatah have a sole objective which is the finalisation of the occupation, although Israel may continue making Hamas appear evil...
-Are there any differences between terrorism and fundamentalism?
-The people who fight for their liberation can never be terrorist or fundamentalist because they are fighting for their independence. Or didn’t you face the British occupation with boiling oil? Or didn’t Europe fight against the Nazi occupation? Therefore, it is unacceptable that Israel tries to make its best to make our fight appear terrorist.
Photo: Ambassador Suhail Hani Daher Akel