On Friday, the Ramallah Municipality organized an open meeting between Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of the PLO Executive Committee, and a considerable number of participants in the American Federation of Ramallah - Palestine (AFRP) 56th convention being held in Ramallah.
The open meeting saw an extensive interaction from Ramallites in the Diaspora who followed Ashrawi’s talk, which touched on the political situation, current developments, the negotiations, and the Israeli escalation.
Ashrawi opened the meeting with an invitation to Ramallites in the Diaspora to take up the challenge in the United States and to contribute to turning the tables on the Israeli lobby in the United States.
She indicated that the recent Israeli escalation is merely a desperate Israeli attempt to destroy peace efforts, and especially U.S. efforts to get the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations back on track, especially in light of the international resentment concerning the Israeli occupation government’s policies.
Regarding the stalled negotiations, Ashrawi mentioned that the Israelis are attempting to elude the most important principles of the Oslo agreement, which lay emphasis on the international legitimacy and the UN resolutions as the basis for negotiations.
She pointed out that the Israelis refuse to even discuss border demarcation, which is the most important principle to establish the right of the Palestinians to attain their own independent state.
She said the Israeli disregard all international norms and conventions, as well as the efforts by the Quartet and the United States, by way of the expansion of settlements, the confiscation of land, and the violation of Palestinian human rights, especially political prisoners.
She also touched on John Kerry’s tour, and said: “He has not been able to score remarkable progress due to the intransigence of the Israelis, who refused o allow an opportunity to discuss the border demarcation or to even cease settlement activity”.
Ashrawi has also responded to scores of questions and inquiries made by the participants in the open meeting. The second day of the convention included tours of the new neighborhoods in the city of Ramallah, including the diplomatic district and Al-Rihan and Al-Tireh suburbs, as well as a tour of the old town of Ramallah. The film Five Broken Cameras was also screened at the convention venue, the Mövenpick Hotel.
It is worth mentioning that, yesterday, the Ramallah Municipality had organized, an official reception for Ramallite expatriates in the U.S. who came to Ramallah to participate in the fifty-sixth AFRP convention (the Nadim Zaru session).
The AFRP in the Diaspora also honored President Mahmoud Abbas by awarding him the convention shield, in recognition of his sponsorship of this important event and his continued support for the people of Ramallah.
The ceremony consisted of speeches by his Excellency, President Mahmoud Abbas, the mayor of Ramallah, Mousa Hadid, and the President of the AFRP in the Diaspora, in addition to a screening of three documentaries; one about the city of Ramallah, made and produced by the municipality, another about the journey of the AFRP, and a third about the Israeli violations of the city. The ceremony also included a Palestinian fashion show.