Of the pen



Olive Trees for Peace


Personalities in Photos



In the Acadaemic



A life devoted to Peace among People and,
dignity and freedom for his Palestine people


Newspaper Pagina/12
Buenos Aires – Sunday, October 8, 2000

Middle East conflict

The peace process is going to continue in spite of all this (view)

The Palestinian ambassador in Argentina, Suhail Akel, accused Israel of performing “a massacre”, but he believes that the situation is going to be solve.

By Journalist Pablo Rodriguez

Suhail Akel is the ambassador of the Palestinian national representation in Buenos Aires. In an interview with Pagina/12, he accused Israel of performing a “massacre” against the Palestinian people. However, he constantly avoided making a satirical remark against the Israeli Premier Ehud Barak beyond the present situation. He believes that “the Israeli people, as well as the Palestinian people, want to achieve peace”. He also believes that sooner or later the peace process is going to continue forward, no matter whoever the Premier is because we have not signed accords with an on-duty leader, but with the Israel state”.

-Is there a way out of this situation?

-We are worried and indignant about what is going on. The Israeli occupation troops are carrying out a real massacre against the Palestinian people. We expected that Ehud Barak took any executive measure against general Ariel Sharon, who originated all this. On the contrary, Barak decided to repress by means of soldiers, tanks and helicopters furnished with artillery, aiming from chest upwards and shooting to kill. It consisted of a hundred or so fatal victims; over 35% are children who are not over 12 years. This is a savagery. We believed that Barak was committed to peace.

-Now do you believe that Barak’s commitment has finished?

-I would not say so. We simply need a reliable, frank and sincere commitment on behalf of Israelis. In these recent hours, Barak gave Yasser Arafat an ultimatum to stop the Palestinian Intifada. This will only intensify the conflict, instead of helping to stop all this. We, Palestinians, cannot accept more conditions anymore.

-The Israeli government maintains that Yasser Arafat induces the Palestinian uprising. It justifies this statement saying that the Palestinian police do not exercise their power over the demonstrators.

-It has nothing to do with the Palestinian police. We struggle within our Palestinian territory. We have not invaded the Israeli territory. I am not trying to justify the acts of violence which took place at the Josue’s tomb yesterday. We do not agree with any case of violence, least of all when holy places in a religion are attacked. But, actually, saying that the Palestinian police do not act as it should is unacceptable. Israel must put down its weapons which aim at the Palestinian chests.

Patience: “Palestinians have proven they have been patient all these years. It is necessary to recognize patience may finalize”, Akel said.

-In what conditions can the peace process be re-created?

-Palestinians have proven to be too patient. But patient may finalize. Arafat could have declared the independence of Palestine long time ago, but he waited for the peace possibility Barak’s eventual government presented. Then Arafat continued waiting for Barak, but on last September 13 he said that he could declare the independence. Barak replied that he was going to fill Palestine with Israeli soldiers. It seems that Barak does not wait for our independence declaration to fill us with Israelis soldiers.

-So, according to the Palestinians, was Barak a wolf dressed up as a lamb or a falcon dressed up as a dove?

-We do not want to use those images. Barak has the possibility of reaching peace for his people in his hands, just as Arafat. We expect that Barak opens his heart and moves war drums away from us. There were many Israeli movements which protested against the massacre. Both Palestinians and Israelis want to achieve peace, sharing Jerusalem as the capital city.

-But what has happened that now there is a kind of civil war? What has Barak done?

-Maybe he was not able to control the internal front. We all know what happened to certain ultra-Orthodox groups which asked for bribes; that is, some money in return for peace concessions. I believe that Barak is not able to control his front and the internal security of Israel. He contradicts himself when he asks Palestinians to implement more security and he cannot prevent events like the Sharon’s events, which developed into the present situation, within Israel.

-If Barak leaves his office, could the peace process finish?

-We have signed a peace commitment with the State of Israel, we have not signed it with a person or an on-duty leader. As there is a minimum sign of dialogue, the peace process continues. We have a clear attitude: we have signed agreements with government from different orders, then we signed agreements of agreements, then we waited for another government to sign another agreement about the agreement of another agreement and so on. We know Israelis wants to achieve peace. There is no reason to think that the peace process is dead.

Page in spanish