PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi: “Given the overwhelming evidence of Israel’s verbal and actual rejection of the two-state solution and hence peace, it is imperative that the US and the international community as a whole start dealing with reality rather than fiction”.
Speaking at the opening session of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa in Jordan, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that peace with Israel is still possible, and that the Palestinians “want to have two states living side by side.”
Abbas’ declarations received a cold reception in Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said to give peace a chance in a speech at the Israeli Knesset, but the prime minister’s office made it clear that the Israeli government has not adopted the idea of a two states solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi criticized Sunday the claims made by Israel’s Minister of Defense, Moshe Yaalon, that the much-debated Arab League Peace Initiative is “just spin.”
A day later, Israel’s economy minister and chairman of the Habayit Hayehudi party, Naftali Bennett, said the two-state solution had reached a dead end.
Speaking at a Jerusalem meeting of the West Bank settlement representative body Yesha Council, Bennet compared the situation to a piece of shrapnel stuck in the buttocks. The minister said: “I have a friend who has shrapnel in the buttocks, and he was told that also after an operation he will remain disabled. So he decided to continue to live with it. There are situations where striving for perfection can cause more harm than good “.
At the meeting Bennet highlighted that “there has never been a Palestinian state here.” He added “We need to change our conception and say we’re here because it’s our home. We need to start thinking about how we conduct ourselves from now on, with that concept behind us.”
According to Ashrawi, “such statements from Israeli officials, in addition to Israel’s actions on the ground, are the essence of the nature of this government and a clear negative response to (US Secretary of State John) Kerry’s initiatives.”
At the beginning of June, before a trip to the region, Kerry warned that time is running out on the peace process during a speech at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum in Washington, DC.
“We’re running out of time. We’re running out of possibilities. And let’s be clear: If we do not succeed now… we may not get another chance,” said Kerry.
Earlier this month jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti said in a letter relayed by his lawyer to the Chinese news agency Xinhua that the US is not an honest broker and the peace talks with Israel have reached a deadlock.
President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have publicly supported Kerry’s efforts to resume the peace negotiations. However, Ashrawi says that “given the overwhelming evidence of Israel’s verbal and actual rejection of the two-state solution and hence peace, it is imperative that the US and the international community as a whole start dealing with reality rather than fiction.”
* This article was published by the Alternative InformationCenter (AIC)