Mendoza – Sunday, May 26, 2002
Israel has only offered us the Apartheid (view)
By Pablo Patiño, from UNO staff
With no noises from the tanks which have besieged the general headquarters of Arafat in Ramallah during over 40 days and with a fewer amount of images which show the unequal war between Israelis and Palestinians, Arafat’s government tries –with its followers’ good will and courage- to call the world’s attention towards the re-establishment of the Palestinian State.
For this purpose, the Palestine National Authority’s Ambassador in Argentina visited Mendoza. Suhail Hani Daher Akel, a diplomat who is so committed to the Palestinian cause that he has not mentioned his particular details –he only referred to the fact that he was born in Jerusalem in 1946- in order to devote himself to talk about the mission he has been entrusted with from Cisjordan and Gaza Strip.
Daher Akel is a highly defender of Arafat’s administration. He is a punctilious reproachful diplomat of each of the violations committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, as well as, a reproachful diplomat of UN resolutions. He also criticizes those Palestinian intellectuals who discuss Arafat’s administration from dispersion.
The Palestinian flag glitters on the lapel of his impeccable coat. With a Spanish from the River Plate Basin, he firmly talks about the crisis of his people, the Israeli occupation, the UN attitude and the “guarantee” role of the United States.
-Do you agree with Oslo plan?
-We came to Oslo with high hopes. Before Oslo agreements, in 1974 and after the Fez meeting, the PLO had already offered the possibility of having a meeting with Israel in order to talk about the territories which were occupied in the 1967 war and the re-establishment of the Palestine State in the territories which were occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem as its capital city.
Israelis’ rejection did not take too much time, nor the rejection which made us meet at the Madrid summit in 1991. It allowed us to sign the Oslo agreements in 1993 thanks to the secret accords that we were carrying out with a part of the Israeli leadership. Agreements which should have restituted the Palestinian State on May 4, 1999. Agreements which were infringed by Israel, they did not give place to that re-establishment.
In September 1999, Ehud Barak signed a new agreement –which should have finished by September 2000- where they also had to restitute the Palestine State. However, Barak, who showed himself as a personality committed to peace, as a person who was making Israeli offers and super-offers to the Palestinians, did not fulfill it. The truth is that at the meeting on May 4, 2000, Barak had given President Arafat and President Bush the future Palestinian State map which was designed by means of the occupation pen. That is, a State divided into five regions controlled by the Israelis. The airspace and the sea were going to be controlled by Israelis. National Israeli routes under Israeli control were going to cross the territory and they were going to modify the life and the geography of the Palestinian territory, especially in East Jerusalem. Therefore, Mr. Barak was not giving us an independent, sovereign and free State; just as we had signed with Israel. Barak was offering the Apartheid.
-Why do you agree with Oslo when the Israeli claims have not changed?
-Because when we signed an agreement, we have signed it on the basis of an agreement between the parts in conflict. This is supposed to be an international agreement by means of the United States and Russia’s guarantee. Besides, that agreement was developed over the basis of the international juridical resolutions 242 and 338 from 1967. They urge the Israeli occupant power, just as the United Nations names it, to withdraw from the territories which have been occupied since June 5, 1967. Therefore, we have sincerely signed that agreement and we have finally realized that both people have been disappointed: the Israeli and Palestinian people.
“The United Nations establishes complaisant resolutions for Israel and conclusive resolutions for Cuba, Iraq and Libya”.
-But Israel does not seem to care about it and it continues its attacking the people and building illegal settlements.
-Because they have infringed the agreements, as well as, they have infringed UN resolutions and they have turned them into ink over paper. They have even infringed the main UN resolution dealing with this issue. That is, they have infringed the resolution 181/2, which allowed Israel to develop on Palestinian territory since the United Nations gave Israel 55 per cent of my country. But they created the State of Israel using 78 per cent of the territory, occupying East Jerusalem. So they arose from impunity, from the Zionist terrorism which they were carrying out. The construction of the Israeli State takes place by means of the demolition of 387 Palestinian cities and houses.
That is, we really expected that Israel solved the fact of infringing UN resolutions, international agreements, Human Rights Universal Declaration, the fourth Geneva agreement of 1949. We expected that Israel followed an international framework in agreement with the rest countries in the world. We sign an agreement; we do not sign a paper between us. We have signed an international agreement which Israel has not respected; an accord which Israel has infringed. The United States has firmly given it all the rigor of a guarantor country in order to force the part which has made these mistakes to correct them and fit into the agreements which have been signed.
-On what conditions are you going to negotiate with this present situation?
-At present there is no Oslo agreement. Oslo agreements have finished. At present, we are dealing with George Tenet, a former CIA chief. We are dealing with the previous initiative of George Mitchell, a former American senator, So we have to reach an agreement considering these initiatives and Oslo’s juridical essence. There is no agreement in between; the re-establishment of the Palestine State must take place. There is no way that we continue signing more and more agreements than we have signed from September 13, 1993, to the present. These agreements have been continually infringed by the occupant power.
-What are Palestinians going to do? What are going to be your arguments for this new negotiation?
-Here there are no arguments, but conclusive and definite determinations. We expect that the international community and mainly the United States change from speech diplomacy to action diplomacy. We also expect that UN resolutions, which condemn Israel, have no VIP nature to make them become ink over paper. We expect that the United States imposes sanctions –on an equal footing- on all countries which do not fulfill UN resolutions.
I would like to say that there are two kinds of UN resolutions: complaisant resolutions, just as the ones against Israel, and conclusive resolutions, just as the ones against Cuba, Iraq, Panama, Libya and Yugoslavia.
We do not claim for the existence of an allied force which destroys Tel Aviv, just as Baghdad has been destroyed. We do not want to subject the Israeli people to an economic boycott, jus as Cuba has been subjected to. We do not want 400 people to die, just as in Afganistan. We want Israel to come under pressure so that it may be able to follow the way of the international juridical framework of an independent, sovereign and free State in order for it to put an end to the occupation of another State and in order for it to give the possibility –within the international juridical framework- of carrying out the re-establishment of the Palestine State.
-Besides confrontations with Israel, does Arafat face domestic divisions which hinder a unity among Palestinians?
not. We are not worried about this at present. We are a democracy. Historically,
the Palestine Liberation Organization has chosen the democratic system to
choose its president and the members of its Parliament, which is the Palestinian
National Council. Then we are a democracy and we have been able to develop
it since the return from his exile of President Yasser Arafat on July 1,1994,
when he called to elections for January 1996. He won elections with 88,1 per
cent of votes. Therefore we are a democracy which is similar to Israel’s
democracy. On the other hand, the main concern of the Palestinian leadership,
Arafat and the Palestinian people is that of putting an end to the occupation.
We expected to achieve the restitution of the Palestinian State in 1999 in
order to form the democratic structure of the Palestinian State, later on.
However, we have not been able to re-establish our Palestinian State up to
now. Do you believe that we can carry out free democratic elections under
“Barak has offered us the map of the future Palestinian State. It has been designed by means of the occupation pen”.
“The State of Israel has infringed all the agreements which were signed with Palestinians before the United Nations and countries such as the United States and Russia”.
“We want Israel to be forced to fulfil the accord which have been signed”.