Ashrawi refuses to let go of two-state equation

I’ve written for years about Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi, especially after her awarding in 2003 of the Sydney Peace Prize. The Zionist lobby were apoplectic, showing their usual humanity towards Arabs. Suffice to say, Ashrawi received the award but many people finally realised the kind of Jews who run the Zionist establishment; bullies who fear debate and loathe Palestinians.

Now in 2011, Ashrawi is interviewed by Haaretz and she still maintains that a two-state solution is possible. She despairs with the Israeli public. She hopes that somebody, somewhere, will make the Zionist state see sense:

Many of the young Israeli men and women who gathered a few weeks ago in the spacious hall of the Muqata in Ramallah must have wondered about the identity of the dark-haired woman who had a place of honor at the dignitaries’ table, between MK Shlomo Molla and former MK Colette Avital. Some of them were still in diapers when Hanan Ashrawi was making headlines. The meeting was organized by the Geneva Initiative and brought together Israeli and Palestinian legislators with Israeli peace activists.

When the Madrid peace conference convened in October 1991, Ashrawi, a professor of English literature from Ramallah, daughter of Daoud Mikhail, a founder of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, was appointed a member of the Palestinian negotiating team. She represented the new, enlightened face of the PLO: Palestinian patriot, peace-seeker, intellectual, woman and Christian all in one. The talks with the Israeli delegation, led by Elyakim Rubinstein, were limping along and getting nowhere when the astounding news of the completion of the Oslo peace accords broke in September 1993.

When the first reports came in, I was sitting near her in the lobby of a hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. Ashrawi asked me to translate for her the item from Haaretz that listed the main points of the agreement (the English edition of the newspaper did not yet exist ). “Are you sure there’s nothing about a settlement freeze?” asked this neighbor of the Psagot settlement, not disguising her anger at her colleagues from Tunis. Today she explains that the Palestinian representatives at the Oslo talks, Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala ) and Hassan Asfour, were living in exile and not sufficiently aware of what living under occupation and the theft of lands really meant.

Many of your comrades have despaired of the two-state idea and begun calling instead for a one-state solution.

“The one-state solution is not realistic. Israel will not give us all passports and share political power. Looking closely at the society, I think Israelis are going backward, moving toward racism. They are more closed in, understand Palestinians much less. The peace camp in Israel has disappeared. I am still in touch with Israeli friends. We have relations, but not as frequent as before.

“Salam Fayyad’s plan to end occupation and build a state will come to fruition in the next year. It’s been three years since the launching of negotiations at Annapolis and two years since that ended. The two-state solution is becoming almost impossible. How are you going to dismantle settlements when they are growing from day to day?

“Time is running out, and when reality overtakes all of us it will be beyond our control. I still believe that there are some sane and responsible people who will challenge this.”

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