Describing a viable two-state solution to end the Palestine-Israel conflict as “very much in doubt”, a leading Palestinian legislator called on Wednesday for “new international engagement” to move the process forward.
In an interview with UN News, Hanan Ashrawi, an Executive Committee Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, described the deaths and injuries of Palestinians at the Gaza border on Monday as a “massacre”, adding that Palestinians everywhere were one people, who “share the same pain, the same sorrows, the same aspirations, the same hopes”.
The veteran peace negotiator and legislator, is at UN Headquarters in New York, to take part in a forum organized by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Following the United States decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem this week – and act which she described as “becoming complicit in the occupation” – she said Palestinians “want a new multilateral mechanism; we want a new international engagement.”
She said that peace negotiations with Israel since the early 1990s, brokered by the US, had not worked: “The US certainly has joined Israel as a partner in crime. It has joined Israel in violating international law and the resolutions of the Security Council on Jerusalem and so on. So, what we need to do is to bypass these obstacles…and to find a sort of global forum for the solution,” she said.
Asked if a two-state solution with both countries living side-by-side in peace, was still possible, Ms. Ashrawi said: “This is very much in doubt, it’s very questionable. Unless there is the will to engage, to intervene effectively – not just to end settlement activities but to begin to dismantle settlements – Israel will have succeeded in super-imposing Greater Israel on all of historical Palestine.”
Asked for her view on calls from senior UN officials for Hamas in Gaza to stop inciting any violence at the border, she said the militant group was being used as a “convenient scapegoat” to deflect blame and accountability away from Israel.
“It is not Hamas who is responsible for the killing fields that Israel has carried out in Gaza. The people who are on this march to return; these unarmed civilian protests against the moving of the American embassy…these are expressions of will by the Palestinian people, who are protesting, demonstrating on their own lands", she said, adding that “they are sending a message not just to Israel but to the rest of the world that we are a people who are alive and we want to live, and we want our freedom and we want our rights. This is not a sort of incitement or instigation by Hamas.”