Montevideo – Sunday, April 14, 2002
The Palestinian Ambassador has criticised the attitude of the Israeli Consul who refused to greet him in a ceremony in favour of peace
We do not accept maps which are imposed on us by means of the occupation pen (view)
The Palestinian Ambassador in Argentina Suhail Hani Daher had a short conversation with La Juventud shortly before going back to Buenos Aires and after a long meting at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in our country.
Although he maintained a high-ranking contact with the Uruguayan diplomacy, he was cautious about giving his opinion of a future official acknowledgement of Yasser Arafat’s government.
Photo: I. Alvez
Likewise, he criticised the attitude of the Israeli Consul who refused to greet him during a ceremony for pacification in Middle East. The ceremony took place at the University this week.
“If the Israeli Consul had had the courage to hold my hand when I stretched it out, I would have liked to shake hands with him. At the moment, Palestinians and Israelis definitely have to carry out a peace program in order to definitely eradicate violence”, the diplomat said.
-Although our country has supported -by means of its vote- the UN resolution which gave rise to it, our country has been regarded as negligent in not recognising the Palestine State. During your meetings at the Uruguayan Foreign Affairs Ministry, have you found any sort of conditions to advance in this direction?
-The Uruguayan people are friendly people and Uruguay is a friendly country. We have always believed that friends are always predisposed to stretch out their hands. According to me, the Uruguayan government is predisposed to develop a bilateral approximation and we expect that this situation takes place in this way. We are not far away from bringing near our bilateral relationships.
-Why have you visited Uruguay?
-I was invited to take part in the Life and Peace Declaration which took place yesterday (he refers to Thursday 11). We really feel proud of it; it makes us feel well and truly pleased to know that people who are 20 thousand kilometres away are interested and anxious about the achievement of peace between Palestinians and Israelis. That is why I have decided to accept the invitation and support Uruguayan people’s high peace will, which was signed on Thursday.
"We expect that Sharon does not make a mistake trying to kill Arafat these days”
-That night you met with Israeli diplomatic representatives. Were you interested in having a sort of interchange with them?
-Yes, of course. I believe that the parts in conflict must approach one another in the most difficult times. They must leave aside irritating situations because the conflict leads us to irritating situations at the moment.
In this declaration, I could have shared the front row with my colleague the Israeli Ambassador in Uruguay, but unfortunately he could not take part in the ceremony. But at the same time, if his spokesman (the Israeli Consul Lion Ben Dor) had had the courage to hold my hand in his name when I stretched it out, I would have liked to shake hands with him. At present, Palestinians and Israelis definitely must develop a peace program to definitely eradicate violence which is carrying out a massacre against the Palestinian and Israeli people.
“I believe that the Uruguayan government is predisposed to develop a bilateral approximation and we expect that this situation takes place in this way”
-As a member of a country which is besieged and at a non-declared war with Israel, do you feel safe going around the South American countries?
-It does not make me nervous, I do not care about it. I am trying to spread my people’s truth, which is based on sovereignty, independence and respect. We are not trying to achieve the sovereignty of our independent Palestine State with East Jerusalem as its capital city at the expense of somebody else’s freedom. We have recognised the existence of the State of Israel and we are prepared to live with them and we expect that Israelis have the courage to live with us in peace, freedom and on an equal footing. But fundamentally, some sort of cohabitation based on respect, dignity and justice. We cannot accept the maps imposed on us by means of the occupation pen. We cannot accept that the State of Israel -as an occupant power- draws the maps of the future Palestine State or points out which our destiny must be on the basis of its interests.
We want to respect the total integrity of Israel and we want our integrity to be respected.
-With regard to this, what have you demanded from the Uruguayan Foreign Affairs Ministry?
-At the Foreign Affairs Ministry, we had a pleasant meeting (it lasted over 3 hours) where we had some conversations of State and we urged Uruguay to do its best in order for that peace to be achieved since Uruguay is a friendly country which is committed to peace.
-Does your party or government imagine a future without Arafat?
-(He thinks) Our President is our leader, which has been democratically elected. We are also a democracy in Middle East, although no one speaks of it. When we started returning in 1994, President Arafat called to democratic elections. With the presence of 600 international observers, he won elections with 88,1% of votes. So as a democratic leader, a defender of peace and a Peace Nobel in 1994, we expect to have our President for a long time.
“Our President is our leader, which has been democratically elected. We are also a democracy in Middle East, although no one speaks of it”
Anyway, our people have great personalities and figures who are committed to peace. But you know that a leader is a leader. We expect that Sharon doe not make a mistake trying to kill Arafat at present.
-Have you learnt about Uruguayan Parliament’s declaration which supports the acknowledgement of both States? Have you had partisan-political contacts during this visit?
-Yes, I have had them; they have invited me. I think that the declaration is correct and Uruguayan Foreign Affairs Ministry’s declaration to put an end to occupation is really appropriate. We also believe that the declaration which is going to be realised by Grupo de Rio in Costa Rica is really appropriate. There is no doubt that this facts highly support the Palestinian people; it supports and urges the Palestinian people to look for a solution.
The Palestinian Ambassador is going to be the main guest at “Mañanas de Radio” in CX36 Centenario, tomorrow. He is returning to Uruguay to take part in the forum-debate of “Vivian Trias” Foundation. He is going to be one of the speakers.
Photo: Tomorrow Daher is going to visit Montevideo and CX36 again