La Plata – Monday, January 23 of 1995
Exclusive interview with the PLO representative in Argentina
“Israel is the one which must stop violence” (view)
By Hugo M. Manccini from Hoy staff
The Palestine Liberation Organization representative, Dr. Suhail Hani Daher Akel, analyzed the peace process in Middle East, including the analysis of violence in the region.
According to some information, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres spoke about the need of providing economic aid to the Palestine Autonomy in order to eliminate factors which encourage the Palestinian terrorism. What do you think of that?
I did not hear the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs speaking of Palestinian terrorism. He spoke about extremist sectors, on one hand. On the other hand, I find Shimon Peres’ worry well, but we desire that Israel lifts the blockade now imposed on the Palestine National Authority. On October 1 of 1993, an international conference to finance Palestine was held in Washington, where 47 countries took part in it. 2,200-million-dollar commitments were collected, but this amount is much lower than the one demanded for the reconstruction of our devastated occupied territory. According to some information released by the Economic department, this would exceed 13 thousand million dollars. The truth is that this 2,200 million dollars -until today- are blockaded, even in their first phase. Only 70 million out of the 660 million which had to be handed out to the Palestine National Authority last year were handed out.
This prejudices, of course. This does not absolutely agitate any sector, but we cannot forget that the Palestinian people have only regained a 7% of their territory up to now.
Is the activity of groups such as HAMAS and the Islamic Jihad on the margins of what you call the fight of the Palestinian people for their liberation?
Nothing can be on the margins of what is going on in Palestine and Israel. HAMAS is part of our people. They have a policy we do not agree with.
We are opposed to any act of violence, because we have been victims of violence throughout history. Nor can we tell HAMAS to stop its demands against Israel, nor can we ask for it to anyone from our people, while the Israeli army roams about the Palestinian streets, while there are still 6,000 Palestinians prisoners at the Israeli prisons and while the creation of settlers’ settlements continues in Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. All this –of course- cause violence because they are acts of violence.
Why does not extremism become part of the project and PLO?
I think that all of us need guarantees and these ones cannot be maintained when weapons are in between.
Can we interpret that the violence of some groups becomes legitimate before matters such as occupation, repression and even the violent response of civilians and settlers?
No, I cannot absolutely legitimize violence. I am carrying out an exhortation to stop violence, but the country which has to stop violence is not the occupied one, but the occupant one.
With regard to the future of negotiations, are you optimistic?
Of course I am optimistic, I have worked for peace and I will continue working for peace because I think this is the only way for the region. The unique solution is definitely the achievement of an open dialogue as the one which is being maintained at the moment. It is the best dose to reduce both Israeli and Palestinian extremist sectors. I see a future of peace, but I am interested in the fact that time may be immediate and not mediate. We need the collaboration of all parts to achieve it.
As long as Israelis contribute to this, fulfilling all UNO resolutions established for decades, withdrawing from the territories occupied in the 1967 war; as long as they withdraw from the Syrian Golan without raising objections, as long as they withdraw from the one thousand square kilometers they occupied south Lebanon; Arab countries and the Palestinian people will find it easy to really achieve a quick and secure peace for the region.
Does not Israeli military triumph give right? O why do you think Syria does not negotiate yet the Golan Heights which are under Israeli control?
This is a problem of the Syrian government we, Palestinians, cannot reply to. But I do not agree with what you tell me about conquered lands. These are not conquered lands, but occupied lands. Israel has absolutely occupied land throughout its history.
Israel had to have arisen in that region with a 45% of Palestinian territory in 1948, but it arose with a 77% of the Palestinian land on that year. In 1967 Israel occupied all Palestine, the Syrian Golan and the Egyptian Sinai. That is, Israel is four times as big as the territory awarded by UNO at the expense of the Arab land. Under no point of view, we can accept that this is conquered land.
But Begin and Sadat negotiated the occupied Sinai and it was returned to Egypt. Something similar to this could happen to the Golan Heights, right?
Yes, of course. We hope that the same thing happens to it, but we hope that the same thing fundamentally happens to Palestine. We are negotiating a transitory autonomy plan with Israel. Up to now, it has not be the best example for the Arab countries, especially for Syria.
Recently, there have been some rumors about attacks and red alerts in our country, is it psychological? Or is there an Islamic fundamentalist activity in these lands?
I do not like venturing answers about unclear circumstances. Up to now, no Arab or Muslim has been arrested. Up to now, those who caused this deplorable attack remind unknown. According to us, it is necessary to arrest the intellectual and material perpetrators. Under that circumstances, a trial period is required.
Today, we would only be assigning the violent-weekend-and-day syndrome to the Argentine people, when a third attack is being encouraged. We must be highly careful with regard to this issue, but the Argentine pueblo cannot be constantly introduced to a constant violence psychosis.
- “The economic situation prejudices, it does not agitate any sector”.
- “Israel has not fulfilled ONU resolutions and the peace agreements with regard to the withdrawal from the occupied territories”.
- “Hamas is part of our people”.
- “The country which has to stop violence is not the occupied one, but the occupant one”.
- “The Argentine people is being subdued to the violent-day syndrome when a third attack is being encouraged”.