Conference: The Palestinian Situation in view of domestic, regional and international developments


The Palestinian Peace Coalition-Geneva Initiative organized a political conference on 21 May in Ramallah on “The Palestinian Situation in view of domestic, regional and international developments”.


The conference was facilitated by Mrs. Nour Odeh, former head of the Palestinian Government Press Office.  The conference featured Yasser Abed Rabbo, PLO Secretary General, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, PLO executive committee member, Qais Abdelkarim, Depty Secretary General of DFLP and Nazir Mjaly, an Arab Israeli political Analyst as speakers. The conference was attended by more than 150 political activists, opinion shapers, civil society activists, young leaders and foreign diplomats.  The conference was organized with the support of the European Union's Partnership for Peace.
The speakers and audience at the event
The following is a summary of the remarks made by the speakers.
Abed Rabbo: “What we need now is a clear Arab and international position setting the basis for the peace process in order to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory, but not just for the purpose of engaging in negotiations. Then we can talk about negotiations whose main aim is to end the occupation”. He added: “It is not important to go to the Security Council with new draft resolution, we have so many resolutions so far, what is important now is translating such resolutions into an international policy that puts a time limit for the Israeli occupation”.
On the intra Palestinian split, Abed Rabbo added: “We must end the intra Palestinian split by any price, it is not less important than ending the Israeli occupation. We are proceeding now towards “two states”, one in the West Bank and another in the Gaza Strip”.
Hanan Ashrawi: “Europe has so many tools to pressure Israel. Being the largest commercial partner for Israel, it should use such privilege to push Israel to respect the international will by ending its occupation of the Palestinian territory”. She added : “There are signs of change in the European policy, there is the French Initiative which was recently talked about, which can contribute to developing a plan for putting an end to the Israeli occupation. There are several calls to resume negotiations, the problem now is not in the absence of negotiations, but in utilizing negotiations as an umbrella for settlement expansion policies. We are committed to the two-state solution according to the Palestinian National Council Resolution, but with the stalled peace process everybody should be ready for any possibility due to the Israeli policies which aim to destroy such a solution”.
Qais Abdelkarim:  Discussing the intra Palestinian split: “The split is not due to conflict between two policies, but a struggle for power and on Palestinian representation. As a result, both sides are putting obstacles in front of any effort to end it. The two sides, Hamas and Fatah, are the ones responsible for creating the split, but ending such split is a national responsibility for all Palestinians”.
Nazir Mjaly: talking about the current Israeli political scene, “we are facing the worst and most racist government in the history of Israel. We witness a growing trend in the apartheid policies against the Arabs inside Israel, as well as against the Palestinians in the occupied territories. The Palestinians don’t need to work to isolate and delegitimize Israel. The current government with such policies constitutes the shortest recipe for isolating the State of Israel from the world”.