Radical solutions for Palestine

Hanan Ashrawi has lived through all the ups and downs of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. She was present at the birth of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at the 1991 Madrid Conference, where she served as a spokeswoman for the Palestinian cause. Two decades later, Ashrawi, now a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee and Prime ...

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Hanan Ashrawi has lived through all the ups and downs of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. She was present at the birth of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at the 1991 Madrid Conference, where she served as a spokeswoman for the Palestinian cause. Two decades later, Ashrawi, now a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's Third Way Party, fears that she is witnessing the death of the peace talks. As U.S. President Barack Obama's attempts to revive the stalled negotiations continue to falter, Ashrawi tells Foreign Policy that the PLO is considering a number of out-of-the-box ideas to fulfill its goal of an independent Palestinian state -- including taking their case to the United Nations.

FP: On Nov. 9, the Arab League is going to meet again to consider an extension of Israeli-Palestinian talks. What do you see as the future of the current round of negotiations? (Editor's note: The decision whether to extend the negotiations was subsequently delayed.)

Hanan Ashrawi has lived through all the ups and downs of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. She was present at the birth of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at the 1991 Madrid Conference, where she served as a spokeswoman for the Palestinian cause. Two decades later, Ashrawi, now a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s Third Way Party, fears that she is witnessing the death of the peace talks. As U.S. President Barack Obama’s attempts to revive the stalled negotiations continue to falter, Ashrawi tells Foreign Policy that the PLO is considering a number of out-of-the-box ideas to fulfill its goal of an independent Palestinian state — including taking their case to the United Nations.

FP: On Nov. 9, the Arab League is going to meet again to consider an extension of Israeli-Palestinian talks. What do you see as the future of the current round of negotiations? (Editor’s note: The decision whether to extend the negotiations was subsequently delayed.)

Hanan Ashrawi: There are many options, of course. But I think I would hate to limit all our options only to bilateral negotiations. It seems to me that we’ve been trying that for the past two decades, and what has it done? It has [resulted in] increased settlement activities, increased Israeli control — particularly the transformation of Jerusalem, which has led to tremendous suffering on the part of the Palestinians. The state of siege, home demolitions, ethnic cleansing — all these things are ongoing while there’s an abstract process without a relationship to reality.

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