Buenos Aires – First two weeks of February, 1996
“Jerusalem will be the capital city” (view)
The representative of the National Palestine Authority in Argentina imagines a future of peace in Middle East
“These elections have been ones in which the Palestinian people have had the opportunity to elect their representatives by secret balloting and in a frame of absolute harmony. This, among other things, proves that our people are able to head their State in a totally independent way”, expressed Suhail Akel, a representative of the National Palestine Authority in Argentina, in an interview with Accion.
- What are the prospects from now on?
- Our priority, within the frame of the accords with Israel, is the recovery of Hebron, one of the biggest holy cities in Palestine. At the same time, we want to give way to the next stage of Oslo accords. It begins in May this year and the final status of our historic and natural capital city, Jerusalem, will be established, frontier limits will be implemented and the refugee issue will be approached. From there, we will reach year1999 with an independent Palestine State.
- One of the great challenges of the NPA is the economic development of Palestine...
- I believe that vouching for the economic development of our people in this new stage is an international responsibility. The international community must support the reconstruction of our country, just as at the moment it made the decision of dividing our Palestinian land. With the conference held in Paris, there have been good signs to finance Palestine in the last few weeks. This means that the European Union will hand over 800 million dollars for the reconstruction, in a year period. On the other hand, our representation in Argentina has obtained the diplomatic status. Besides, there is an Argentine-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce which promotes economic, social and cultural bonds between both countries. This chamber has already established contacts with prominent businessmen who are interested in investing in our country. The first business Argentine mission prepares for visiting our land.
- What could happen if Likud is again admitted to government in Israel?
- We expect that it does not happen. But whether Likud wins the Israeli elections, we believe that agreements were not signed by Labor Party, but by Israel, which assumed these commitments under the auspices of Unites States and Russia. These countries are the ones which should finally guarantee the fulfillment of the agreements.
- To what point is it dangerous the activity of the Israeli extreme right-wing opposing this process?
- That is highly dangerous. These are sectors primary located among Israeli settlers. They are people prepared to carry out terrorist acts, they possess war weapons and they have permission to use them against Palestinians. If Israel does not take solid determinations, all that will complicate any peace process we try. The seriousness of this situation was proven with the killing of Isaac Rabin: they were not doubtful about killing him.
- How do you imagine the future of a Palestine without bindings and occupants? How do you foresee the relation with Israelis is going to be?
- I imagine a future of peace. We have exchanged decades of violence for a period of dialogue and confraternity I believe it is irreversible. I see a new millenium with Israelis and Palestinians who are intertwined for commercial, cultural and social relations and both of them perfectly know what belongs to each other. I see a future in which both people respect each other. A few months ago, I personally returned to my land after long years of exile. I was also able to visit Israel. In both countries, I tried to be in contact with the ordinary people: I realized that both Palestinians and Israelis want to live in peace and they do not want to continue having deaths.
- A difficult issue is outstanding: Jerusalem
Just as it was said by president Arafat, Jerusalem will be like Rome: a capital
of two States: the Israeli unilateral decision which decreed that Jerusalem
would be the unique and indivisible capital city of that country, in 1980,
was condemned by the United Nations twenty days later. Jerusalem will be the
capital city of Israel and Palestine.