PLO official: Israel has ‘destroyed 2-state solution’

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi
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Updated 20 May 2020

PLO official: Israel has ‘destroyed 2-state solution’

  • Hanan Ashrawi has blamed international inaction for ‘reign of terror’ over Palestinians

LONDON: Israeli expansionism and colonialism have “effectively destroyed the two-state solution,” Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said on Tuesday during a webinar attended by Arab News.
Israeli settlers have created “a reign of terror in the West Bank” under an “apartheid” system, she said during the webinar, hosted by the Council for Arab-British Understanding, and titled “Stopping annexation and ending occupation — the role of the international community.”
Settlers are “destroying olive trees and stealing crops,” as well as “terrorizing helpless Palestinian peasants and farmers, quite often with the help and collusion of the Israeli army, not as individuals who are out of control, but as part of a systematic process,” she added.
The Israelis “hold the Palestinians responsible for the safety of their occupiers, for the safety of the soldiers, for the safety of the settlers,” Ashrawi said.
“Should anybody be injured in any way, then we’re all labeled terrorists. At the same time, Israel is given a green light to shoot, to demolish homes, and to steal land and more resources, without any kind of intervention.”
Ashrawi holds the international community responsible for Israel’s settlement enterprise on occupied Palestinian land, which is illegal under international law.
“If you’re unable to stop this, what’s the point of negotiations? To be used only as a tool, as an instrument of an ongoing expansionist program in Israel and really maintaining control over Palestinian people, and the land, and resources, and our future, and our borders, and our airspace and our territorial waters — what’s the point?” she asked.
“When will the EU, when will individual countries, regain some sort of political will, but also — I don’t want to insult anyone — some backbone?”
Settlements “are a war crime according to the Rome Statute of the ICC (International Criminal Court),” Ashrawi said.
“There are many war crimes that are committed but that Israel has gotten away with. So if you say there’s a price to be paid, don’t wait until the deed is done and try to do damage control.”
She urged the international community to stop Israel’s plans to annex swathes of Palestinian territory, its imposition of its laws in the West Bank, its “isolation of Jerusalem” and its “ethnic cleansing.”
The international community, she added, should act not just with “a statement or a declaration,” but “with clear consequences.” Ashrawi said social media is raising public awareness about Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians.
“I think there’s a growing awareness globally among public opinion. They know what’s happening now. You can’t do things in the dark the way they were done in 1948 (when Israel was created).”


Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

In this file photo taken on December 04, 2018, Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of US journalist Austin Tice (portrait L), who was abducted in Syria more than six years ago, speak at a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2020

Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

  • In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump personally wrote to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad about the case of journalist Austin Tice, who has been missing since 2012, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.
“The US government has repeatedly attempted to engage Syrian officials to seek Austin’s release,” Pompeo said in a statement on the eighth anniversary of Tice’s disappearance.
“President Trump wrote to Bashar Assad in March to propose direct dialogue.”
Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.
Thirty-one years old at the time he was captured, Tice appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later.
Since then, there has been no official information on whether he is alive or dead.
In March, Trump said the United States had written a letter to authorities in Damascus, without specifying that he himself had written personally to Assad, who Washington wants out of power. At that time, Trump said he did not know if Tice was still alive.

HIGHLIGHT

Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.

“No one should doubt the president’s commitment to bringing home all US citizens held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas,” Pompeo said Friday.
“Nowhere is that determination stronger than in Austin Tice’s case.”
Pompeo said he and Trump hoped there would be “no need for another statement like this a year from now.”
“Austin Tice’s release and return home are long, long overdue. We will do our utmost to achieve that goal,” he added.
A year ago, the US government said it believed Tice was still alive.
His mother Debra Tice said in January that she had “credible information” to that effect, without elaborating.
In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery.