of Madres de Plaza de Mayo
Buenos Aires – May, 1992
A flower called Palestine (view)
Suhail Hani Daher Akel
Director of the Palestine Information Office In the Argentine Republic
With a great grief, we, Palestinians, were witnesses of the impunity, arrogance and savagery that scourged our people and Holy land during centuries and especially in these last four decades. The international incomprehension of dividing our Country – maybe in order to clear their consciousness before the atrocities carried out against the European Jews – omitted that this not only was the partition of a territory but also the division of the people with the logical consequences. We have to underline that Jews were an inseparable part of our people.
Without forgetting our history and without allowing us to be full of nostalgia, we, Palestinians, tried to look for a dignified solution. We could not ignore the already existence of other people (the Israeli ones) with all its connotations. In the same way that we do not find it easy to accept the partition of our Country, we would find it impossible to accept the disappearance of the people. Therefore, our fight for liberation focused on the defensive aspect rather than on the offensive one, trying –by all means- to assert our national rights over the land inherited from our ancestors and trying not to permit the fulfillment of the Zionist falcons’ wish of transforming us into a mere and reduced indigenous community.
The resolution 58/38 C of the UNO in 1983 calls for an International Peace Conference for Middle East, with all parts in conflict including the PLO and Israel on an equal footing. However, the 1990s decade brought with itself the dissolution of the Cold War, melted the Soviet Union and converted the United States –after the Baghdad massacre- into the international fair axis. Making proudly use of that title, it promised the quick resolution to the Palestinian issue.
Avoiding the international forums, the United States demands Israel that it seats with its Arab friends –it has occupied part of their territories to each of them- in a Peace Conference. Obviously, Israel – occupant power – has the power of demand and it would limit conversations without permitting that these become an International Conference (as the UNO asks). Israel asserted its classic No. No to the participation of the PLO, no to the participation of the UNO, no to the participation of the Vatican and the European Community. In Madrid, on October 30 of 1991, it was opened the historic Conference, continuing in Moscow and Washington, awaiting for new bilateral and multilateral rounds.
Although we, Palestinian, were represented by a delegation consisting of representatives of the PLO, intellectual and independent people which received direct instructions from president Yasser Arafat, we were not on the same foot since we were negotiating under the occupation and the daily repression of army and police; next to the redoubled no of the Israeli delegation, headed by the right-winger prime minister Yzthak Shamir, no to the Palestine State, no to the return of the territories occupied in 1967, no to the modification of the status of Jerusalem, which was illegally converted into its capital city and not internationally recognized, according to the UNO resolutions 478 in August 20 of 1980.
Considering that the sovereignty issue for both people and States had to be analyzed by the principles of justice, our demands were not Pharaonic. We chose to accept an autonomy supervised by the international forces of the UNO which means the consolidation of the Palestine State in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem as capital, having our lands, laws and international relations and interchange under our exclusive control. Unfortunately, we were victims of the Israeli government’ s generosity one time more. It exchanged our proposal for an autonomy which would give it the control of our lands, water and international relations and, in exchange, we would be allowed to carried out our social, municipal, cultural and educational issues with the prohibition of a government, own laws and national symbols, that is: flag and hymn.
Together with the Peace Conference, the number of Jewish settlers’ settlements on the occupied territories increased, ignoring the international demands. The genocidal Housing Minister Ariel Sharon, responsible for the killing of Palestinians in Sabra and Chatila –according to the Israeli commission of jurist Kahane- allows the Israeli settlers to count on the unconditional support of the primary government ministries in the desperate run for the Judaizing of Jerusalem and the occupied territories:
- Housing Ministry: The Emergency Law of 1990 allows him to plan the site for around 200 houses, without first going to the municipalities, where the citizen has the right to carry out a possible appeal.
- Ministry of Justice: In the majority of the cases, he avoids prosecuting those settlers who expel Palestinians from the homes by means of strength. Recently, Knesset (Parliament) passed a law which authorizes settlers to carry war weapons and use them against any Palestinian suspect who has a weapon or not.
- Finance Ministry: He is authorized to seize the houses of those Palestinians who do not pay their taxes with regard to property and income. The Military Order Nº 58 permits them to usurp, sell or rent the Palestinian real state in the West Bank.
- Ministry of the Interior: Usually, he applies Law of Property of Absentees of 1950 which today allows military judges to seize territories or houses.
- Municipalities: With regard to Jerusalem, they pass decrees which permit them to establish settlements around the Arab neighborhoods. Those places highly populated by Palestinians are called “Green Zones”, where constructions are not allowed. Plannings are generally secret in order to catch Palestinians unawares and not allow them to appeal.
An organization called El Ad, which has carried out the construction of settlements since 1984, which is financed by the Housing and Finance Ministries and which is guaranteed by parliamentarians, takes possession of –according to what is expressed- 50% of the lands and 15% of the houses of the Palestinian neighborhood Silwan in East Jerusalem.
According to present statistics, the Jewish settlers –which are not over 200.000- control a 53% of the occupied territories and a 90% of the drinking water of 2,500,000 Palestinians. To these injustices which infringe the accords of the IV Geneva Convention on 12/8/1949 for the protection of people under occupation or conflict, we have to add 2,100 demolitions of houses, the destruction of 123,000 olive and fruit trees, the deportation of over one hundred Palestinians, around 75,000 prisoners, the killing of around 1,950 Palestinians, 118,500 injured people from which 60,000 are children, and the already perverse 7,500 cases of women who have aborted as a result of beatings and poisonous gases. We amount to 86, 400 hours equivalent to 3,600 days which mean 10 years of martial law and siege.
All this impunity is continuously denounced and condemned by the UNO resolutions, by the Israeli Peace Movement Now, by Israeli deputies, by the representative of the European Community for the occupied territories and even by president George Bush, fixing the 10-thousand-million-dollar loans to Israel until violence and settlements are not suspended.
Can Israel continue occupying and enslaving our people? Can Palestine continue looking for peace in the middle of occupation, forfeitures and human rights abuse? In spite of bulldozers and barbed wire... In spite of the document of the Labor Party enunciated during its mandate, “Doctrine of the Country”, and supported by Likud, which prays “...the territories occupied in 1967 are part of the Israeli State” or the proclamations of premier Shamir “justifying the terrorism used for the creation of Israel “, on September 4 of 1991... In spite of the squadrons of death Sanson, Shim Bet, Israeli security forces and Cereza, which characterized for their tortures and killings. Is spite of their bullets Dum Dum made of glass, rubber or plastic and the prohibited poisonous gases CS and CN, we, Palestinians, will continue with our heroic Intifada and being patient and persevering in the definitive search for a decent peace for both, which allows a flower called Palestine to reborn from the deepest of the Holy Land of Freedom.