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Newspaper Página/12
Buenos Aires – Sunday, August 5, 2001

Middle East is ablaze

Sharon carries out the final solution against the Palestinian people (view)

In an interview with Pagina/12, the Palestinian ambassador in Argentina, Suhail Akel, explained why he believes that terrorist groups or Palestinian security forces’ “selective elimination” conceals an ethnic cleansing program drawn up by the Israeli army.

By M. L. S. M.

In the middle of a rise of violence in Middle East, Pagina /12 had a conversation with the ambassador from the Palestine National Authority in Argentina, Suhail Akel. He expressed that “we want to stop terrorism in the best way: looking for a constructive dialogue, going back to the negotiation table”.

-Israel stated that they carry out collective killings in response to Arafat’s terrorism. What is your answer?

-We have been warning about the Israeli government’s ethnic cleansing stance of the Palestinian population. Israel conceals this situation by means of the “selective” elimination. Anyway, Israel is carrying out a plan set up by military chief, Shaul Mofaz, on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s request. Last July Mofaz presented an alternative plan to solve the situation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. That is, a final solution which Mofaz created; a final solution which was put into practice on the following day –July 10. It has already caused over 20 Palestinian deaths.

-Israel states that torture is intended for preventing attacks, what do you think of it?

-Firstly, we are victims of terrorism. Obviously, both President Yasser Arafat and our government have always showed themselves against any terrorism act. However, the semantics strategy is put into practice with regard to the Mofaz plan: concealment of the terrorism performed by Israel and concealment of the terrorism performed by the Israeli illegal settlers who are located in Palestinian territory and who carry weapons due to a permission of the Israeli Parliament. We want to stop terrorism in the best way: looking for a constructive dialogue between Palestine and Israel, going back to the negotiation table within what the Mitchell proposal means. 48 days after the proposal of George Tenet, an American envoy and CIA chief, to stop settlements and violence, take some time and go back to the negotiation table, Israel has not respected any rule.

-What is going on with Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s violence?

-What they can do within our territory is in defence of the Palestinian people, just as all the people who are involved in the resistance against the Israeli massacre. We do not agree on militarily operating within Israel, but we do not agree that Israel militarily operates within the Palestinian occupied territory, either.

-What do you think of the opening of a judicial process against Sharon in Belgium?

-We expect that Israel has the courage to hand Sharon over, just as Yugoslavia handed Milosevic over. This is an outstanding issue for human rights defenders and it still remains in the international conscience. Sharon is a war criminal and he not only killed the Palestinian people in the refugee camps, but also tried to eliminate the Palestine Liberation Organization. As he did not succeed at that time, 1982; today the major mission of the Israeli government is precisely the elimination of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian people.

-With Bush Administration, do you obtain more support from the United States?

-This is an issue related to the United States which is responsible for the agreements. With Israel, we have signed some negotiation agreements, the declaration of principles, which would be the Oslo accords of 1993. But up to now we have not seen conclusive results with regard to the Israeli policy, which infringes everything meaning dialogue and constantly denies recognizing Palestine as a sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital city. UN resolutions dating from 1948 up to now have never been fulfilled.

Handing over: We expect that Israel has the courage to hand Sharon over, just as Yugoslavia handed Milosevic over”. Sharon was charged with murder in Belgium for the Sabra and Chatila massacres in 1982.

-Israel says that last year you turned down an excellent offer: 97% of Cisjordan, 100% of Gaza, East Jerusalem as the capital city and the gradual sovereignty transfer over the Jordan Valley. What do you think of it?

It is an excellent offer for Israel. But this is not a commercial conflict, but a political one. We do not hear offers. We are prepared to reach an agreement within the frame of UN resolutions and the accords we have signed with Israel. We have not signed the returning of 95% of Palestinian territory or the returning of some areas –for its convenience- in Jerusalem. We have signed an agreement based on the resolutions 242 of 1967. It urges Israel to withdraw from the territories which were occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem under no condition. That is, Israel cannot impose any condition. According to us, the plan proposed by Barak at the Camp David meeting was unacceptable because the Palestinian territory in Northern Cisjordan was going to be divided into five areas or regions. There would be Israeli checkpoints in the middle of each of them, all extern borders would remain under Israeli control, as well as, the 222 illegal settlement points in Palestine.

-The Palestinian claim for the return right of the refugees in Israel is seen as a demographic destruction of the Jewish State. Is it compatible with the Palestinian peace commitments?

-The State of Israel was created in 1948 and it was accepted the entrance of Jews from anywhere, converting them into Israeli citizens, by means of return law passed in 1952. Isn’t it a demographic destruction of Palestine? Because the Palestinian refugees have been expelled from their territory and homes. I am a Palestinian refugee, I was expelled from Jerusalem in 1948; I have no return right. There is a UN resolution which, at the same time, urges Israel to accept the return of the Palestinian refugees. If Israel had accepted that resolution, today there would not be 3,700,000 refugees.

-After 11 months of Intifada, there are 600 deaths and no peace dialogue. Which is the balance?

-We feel a great grief, because we did not want to go through this limit situation in this legitimate way towards the sovereignty of our people. Israel’s accords -which expired in May, 1999, and whose last stage expired in September, 2000- were not put into practice. Unfortunately, Sharon carried out this aggressive invasion policy of East Jerusalem and the attempt of invading the mosques’ holy area.

-Is the peace process paralyzed?

-If the peace process paralyzes, both people will feel more grief and frustration. No body loves a war. Israel will have to put an end to this Palestinian territory occupation and it will have to return it to their owners


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