La Voz del Interior
Cordoba – Sunday, April 28 of 2002
Palestine Ambassador Suhail Hani Daher Akel
Occupation is the mother of violence (view)
The representative of Yasser Arafat’s government in Argentina states that the world does not react against the aggressions his people face.
Alejandra Conti and Marcelo Taborda
Photo: Jose Gabriel Hernandez
-What is Yasser Arafat’s real situation?
-He is in Ramallah city, in a presidency which has been stolen and looted. I would ask president George Bush and the United Nations why Yasser Arafat has to experience such a situation. We have witnessed the lack of international reaction before the situation the president –who was democratically elected in 1996- goes through. The Palestinian president also obtained the Nobel Peace Prize and he is militarily fenced by a war criminal such as Mr. Ariel Sharon. Besides Arafat is scourged by another Nobel Peace Prize such as Mr. Shimon Peres.
-Why didn’t Arafat take advantage of Ehud Barak’s offer in Camp David?
-During the Camp David meeting between Arafat, Clinton and Barak in 2000, we found ourselves with these Israeli offers and super-offers. Actually, we did not sign an agreement to hear offers. We signed an agreement based on the international laws such as UN resolutions 242 and 338. These resolutions urge Israel –as the occupant power- to withdraw from the territories occupied on June 5 of 1967, as well as, to withdraw from Jerusalem. Then we could not accept a Palestine State map designed by the occupation pen, a map divided into regions which are supervised by Israeli checkpoints, as well as, crossed by Israeli routes. The offer did not include the withdrawal of all illegal settlements from the Palestinian territories. We want to achieve a free, independent and sovereign state, with East Jerusalem as its capital city. A state also open to the Israel State; that is, a state where both people may be able to live in an independent and sovereign way. Fundamentally, a state where they may have justice and dignity.
-Taking into account the events which gave rise to the Intifada on September 28 of 2000, were they a provocation by Sharon or an excuse to give place to the uprising due to Israel’s policy?
-Mr. Sharon is responsible for this Intifada. He tries to invade East Jerusalem with two thousand soldiers in order to violently enter inside the holy area of mosques. This situation allowed him to keep power. At the same time, he is carrying out his ethnic cleansing plan of the Palestinian civil population. A plan which was created by the chief of the Armed Forces, Shaoul Mofaz. During the last few days, we have seen it in what remains of the refugee camps in Jenin, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus, Tulkarem and other cities.
-How do you put an end to this Intifada?
-The occupation is the mother of violence. Then the solution depends on the finalization of occupation, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem, the re-establishment of the Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital -on equal terms, from State to State- and the final peace agreement signing.
Israel pushes people into committing suicidal attacks in which they give their lives for the freedom of their people
-Are suicidal attacks part of that resistance? What measures does the Palestine National Authority take in order to stop them?
-We do not agree with any terrorist attack which attacks Israeli or Palestinian civilians. But there is a difference among those people who are depressed and angry due to the occupation of their country; that is, people who believe that they have no future. Without looking for any kind of justification, I believe that Israel pushes people into committing suicidal attacks in which they give their lives for the freedom of their people. But what we do not understand is the terrorism which the Israeli government develops; that is, the State terrorism. No body speaks much about that.
-Did September 11 have repercussions on the Middle East background? Could you compare George W. Bush’s policy to Bill Clinton’s policy with regard to that region?
-President Arafat was the first Arab leader who condemned the terrorist attacks of September 11. We believe we were victims of that attack, as well as, the whole world. But in the American policy, we notice an ambivalent situation in their war against terrorism. On one hand, the United States urges the president of an occupied country –such as Arafat- to stop those groups which are regarded as terrorist groups by the United States. On the other hand, it does not urge Sharon to put an end to his State terrorism and settlers’ terrorism. The United States seemed to favour Israel, because Israel converts UN resolutions into ink on a paper and the United States does not make any decision to change this situation.