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


Magazine La Revista
Jujuy – April 2006

A country which is resisting is not a terrorist country (view)

With passion and without a pause, the persistent and untiring Palestine Ambassador implores for the horrors his people are living in the endless and closed Middle East conflict.

After planting two Olive Trees for Peace, one of them in Belgrano Square and the other one in Perico City, the Ambassador of Palestine in Argentina, Suhail Hani Daher Akel, agreed to give an exclusive interview to La Revista magazine. He belongs to a family of refugees who arrived in the country over half a century ago running away from the horror in Middle East. The Ambassador seems to be someone from Buenos Aires rather than a Palestinian until he starts speaking of the endless catastrophe Jesus Christ’s homeland is living. He was appointed by the legendary Yasser Arafat to represent Palestine in Argentina. Suhail Hani Daher Akel does not like imprudent journalism. But he answered all the questions: the current situation of the conflict which causes a bloodshed in the region, the indifference of the international community, the Iraqi people’s tragedy, the Islamic terrorism, the relations with Argentina and Mahoma’s caricatures; one more episode of this history of craziness and death.

-How can complement each other two remote and different countries such as Palestine and Argentina?

-I believe that Argentina is a friendly and solidary country and Palestine is an occupied country, which is subjected to this irrational occupation Israel is carrying out against our people. This occupation dates from 1967 and the Palestinian people’s suffering, what we call the Palestinian catastrophe, dates from 1948. That is, when the United Nations took the decision of dividing my country in order to create a Jewish state and give Palestine its continuity as a state, on November 29 of 1947 in resolution 181/2. Therefore, in this last stage, the long-suffering Palestine has been over half a century before the international accomplice silence. The international community does not react; it has taken an unilateral determination because we were not consulted about this partition. Finally, the creation of the State of Israel took place in 1948 on the basis of Zionist terrorism and the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages and cities and the exile of 60 per cent of my people. The international community is the one which must solve this situation.

-Taking into account what took place in Afghanistan, in Iraq, now they seem to be interested in Iran, what do you perceive with regard to the future?

-Actually, that is not part of the past, it is related to the present time. Because Afghanistan continues being a victim of the American occupation; at the same time, Iraq is suffering a real catastrophe and the occupant forces are carrying out a tragedy; it is a country which has been also destroyed before the international silence. The United Nations did not authorize the United States to enter Iraq by means of weapons and destroy the leadership headed by its Mr. President Saddam Hussein, who has been discharged and humiliated in the worst way.

-And he was subjected to a trial without guarantees...

-An today, a court containing Iraqi officials who respond to American interests is judging him. At the same time, President Bush recognizes that there were 30,000 Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the invasion. I think that he should also share that defendant’s seat for war crimes. The killing of 30,000 Iraqi civilians is not an unimportant thing. But this figure daily increases. In the same way that our figure continues daily increasing. That is, Sharon has imposed a massive-killing policy and a selective-killing police on us; he is building an Apartheid Wall which divides all the Palestinian land and keeps 58 per cent of our land and 85 per cent of our waters. Likewise, we have to take into account the grief, suffering and tragedy of the Palestinian people because there are around 4,300 Palestinians who have been killed or become martyrs since the beginning of this new Israeli re-occupation from September 28 of 2000 to February 28 of 2006. One of our martyrs is our homeland father, our leader, who was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, Yasser Arafat, who was lead to death as a result of the military blockade Sharon imposed on him.

-Without Arafat, which has been the destiny of Palestine?

-It has given facts of maturity. There is no doubt that the lost of your father is a heavy blow. Today, Palestine is an example because it is the only country which lives under an occupation and, at the same time, it has a democracy. That is, how can democracy and occupation co-exist? However, we have a democratic system, democratic elections which surpasses Israel. I want to emphasize the fact that Israel always states that it is the only democratic country in the region and, actually, it tries not to take into account the Palestinian democracy. Then we carried out presidential elections. The party headed by our current President Abu Mazen won the elections and, as a symptom of what it is going on in our country, we carried out legislative elections, which were won by the opposition, on January 25 this year. One time more, Palestine is a victim of intolerant persons. That is, Hamas has overwhelmingly won elections and this is a decision of the Palestinian people. They were democratic, free and totally transparent elections because there were 911 international observers headed by Jimmy Carter, who controlled the process transparency. So we have been a greater example than many underdeveloped countries and even than the United States, where votes have been a matter for debate many times and re-counted among many other things. For example, Iraq where there were elections and we never knew who the winner of the elections was; after 35 days, we learnt which sector was the one which won elections. However, there is no certain logic in Europe’s reaction because it does not want to recognize Hamas. Unfortunately, it calls it a terrorist movement. The Unites States has joined it and the policy of Israel consists in demonizing Hamas and taking Palestinian people’s legitimacy off. Europe, United States and Israel -meddling within our territory, our people, our decisions- ask Hamas to recognize the State of Israel. Why did the United States and Europe recognize and support the Israeli extreme right? Sharon was being accused of being a war criminal at Belgium Court. However, nobody imposed a blockade on Israel, nobody urged it to change its attitudes, nobody urged Israel to recognize the Palestine State in the same way that we are asked to recognize the State of Israel. The United States and Europe have knowledge of the fact that we have recognized Israel and carried out our Independence Declaration on November 15 of 1988 on the basis of eleven States. It seems that the occupied country is the one which must give facts, not the occupant country.

-Isn’t Hamas a terrorist movement?

-The term terrorist cannot be accepted and it cannot be applied to a country which is resisting and struggling for its independence. It is not a terrorist the one which wants to get rid of a foreign colonialism. The struggle of the Palestinian people is a legitimate one. Obviously, we reject any kind of violence and death. We have recognized the State of Israel and we have tried to live together in order to definitely eradicate death just as it was established by President Yasser Arafat by means of the Peace of the Braves, where he firmly gave his hands. But it is easy to demonize the other when it is weak; it is easy to accuse the Palestinian people, the resistance and its leaders of terrorists when we are, actually, the victims of the state terrorism carried out by Israel, as well as, the victims of the Israelis illegal armed settlers which are now 430,000; when we have been victims of the Zionist terrorism in the 40s decade.

-Here, we receive some images showing the horror in Middle East and we find it difficult to understand the acts of ting explosives to bodies and making them explode in public places. Why can a person be determined to carry out such a tremendous immolation in name of his fight?

-It is very painful from the human aspect. We reject the existence of suicides, attacks, Palestinian or Israeli deaths. We condemn Palestinians and Israelis’ death. That’s why we have tried to reach an agreement with Israel. But its primacy seems to be its intolerance of continuing occupying territories and now its intolerance of building this Apartheid Wall within Palestinian territory. A wall which is shown to the whole world just as a security border when it is condemned by the United Nations. All the occupation violence becomes the mother of violence. There is no doubt that it is going to generate more and more violence. And we have no nuclear bombs, Apache helicopters, F-16 planes, Abraham M1 tanks and toxic gases. Israel is the one which uses these weapons against the Palestinian civil population. Then a Palestinian who has seen how Israelis killed his parents, children and brothers and a Palestinian who has also seen how Israelis demolished his house, destroyed his land and tried to took his root away from him. That Palestinian who has knowledge of the fact that he was born under the occupation, his father was born under the occupation, his grand-father was born under the occupation, he has no future, he has no good future ahead of him, he cannot develop his family, he has been very credulous and dignity is the only thing he possesses. That humiliated and oppressed man, which has lost everything, develops activities which he regards as liberating and honorable. When he makes the decision of becoming a suicide person and immolating himself with another people, he, unfortunately, is maybe killing many Israelis who agree with us and with the fact of achieving peace. But the truth is that –without trying to justify anybody because I cannot justify violence- we are victims of violence. Then, should we judge the suicide person first? Or should we judge the occupant and the one who humiliates first and the suicide person in second place? I believe that Israel not only bring death to the Palestinian people, but also to its own people. By means of this policy of expansion, this policy of keeping Palestinian territories, trying to subdue the Palestinian people, keeping our capital city East Jerusalem, rejecting signed agreements, not respecting thousands of UN resolutions which urge Israel to withdraw from the territories which were occupied in 1967, Israel is only causing the suicide of its won people and our people. The international community has to make a definite and firm decision; it has to urge Israel to stop its policy and the bloodshed both people are living.

-Considering the possibility of peace in Middle East, is it quite remote?

-I am basically interested in the search for a quick and effective way of controlling the Israeli occupation and in the fact that Israel puts an end to the occupation.

The world has its mechanisms and Palestinians have their will and wish; but the will and the wish of being free and independent are not enough, when the world accepts the crimes we experience. In his latest declarations, the provisional Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that he is going to establish his definite borders, where he includes Jerusalem, the Jordan and part of West Banks, from here to 2010. This is an attack and the international community does not react. This is justly the Apartheid Wall they are building within Palestine. A wall which is 720km long, a wall which has reached 30km within the territory and a wall which divides Palestinian villages and cities. Our borders with Israel have been 356km long since 1967. Before the international community, Mr. Ehud Olmert is legalizing that 58 per cent of territory which is being undermined. Taking into account that he has plans until 2010, maybe he has more ambitions to develop. And the international community does not react and urge Israel to respect UN resolutions dating from 1967 and 1973. It does not urge Israel to respect the resolution of the Security Council in 2001, the agreements signed with us in 1993 and the agreements of the Route Map, an agreement which concerns the world because Europe, United Nations, Russia and the United States were the ones which created it. In 2005, it should have finished with an independent Palestinian State. However, this is year 2006 and it has never been put into practice.

I just want to give the example of Einstein: the European Zionist lobby offered him to be the first President of the Jewish State, but he did not accepted the post because he did not agree with what they were carrying out.

-I have always wonder why the Arab community has an indifferent attitude towards the tragedy of the Palestinian people...

-And no reaction before what it is going on in Iraq and I believe that we have to take into account that the international community must be in charge of it. It concerns all countries in the world; they must not remain indifferent and quiet, they must put an end to this entire situation.

-In Middle East, is there a religious conflict instead of a political or economic one? Or is there a political and economic conflict instead of a religious one?

-It is definitely a territorial occupation conflict. Arafat used to say that if you are a good Muslim, you must be a good Christian and a good Jews and the other way around. There is no doubt that Zionism has tried to prove that this is a religious conflict. However, the three Monotheist religions developed in Palestine and they co-existed all their life. But Zionists decided to create the Jewish State in 1897 and started working on that basis. And that was a kind of crack, which took place when the Jewish State established in Palestine. I just want to give the example of Einstein: the European Zionist lobby offered him to be the first President of the Jewish State, but he did not accepted the post because he did not agree with what they were carrying out. The idea of a religious conflict cannot be accepted; it is an expansionist conflict, an occupation conflict. In Basle, 1897, when the first Zionist congress decides to carry out the creation of a Jewish State in Palestine, it is being decided its collapse and the subjugation of its people because Palestine was historically inhabited. It is not a religious conflict; it is a conflict related to imperial and colonial ambitions.

-With President Kirchner, how does the relation between Argentina and Palestine develop?

-Argentina is a country which has had a systematically coherence policy with regard to our people; it has voted against the Israeli occupation in the United Nations. It has condemned Israel in different opportunities and it has criticized it for human rights issues. Argentina, as well as the United Nations, has urged Israel not to deny the self-determination of the Palestinian people, the finalization of occupation. Argentine has informed it both to Israel, on one hand, and Palestine, on the other hand, by means of its Foreign Affairs Ministry in various democratic governments. And it is really clear because Argentine does not accept to move its Embassy to Jerusalem and it keeps it in Tel Aviv where the majority of the countries which maintain diplomatic relations with Israel have their Embassies. UN resolution 478 urges Israel not to turn Jerusalem into its capital city and United Nations asks member states to maintain their diplomatic relations in Tel Aviv. Actually, I have had wonderful relations with Argentina, bilateral relations, and I have been the one who opened our first embassy here. I was lucky that President Arafat had named me the first Palestinian diplomatic representative in the Argentine Republic. With current Government, relations increasingly started strengthening over the years. The First Lady and Senator Cristina Fernandez has visited Palestine and she has had meetings with our Government. President Kirchner has decided to open a diplomatic representation in Palestine. This speaks well of the relation between Argentina and Palestine.

(Journalist Irene Ballatore’s interview)


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