Emory Report
November 5, 2007
Volume 60, Number 10

Excerpts from
Ashrawi’s talk:

On the U.S. role in the Middle East:
"We need a coalition of the willing — but for peace this time. We need a peace surge, rather than a troop surge."

On Jimmy Carter:
"He's done a lot in terms of providing for peaceful conflict resolution and democracy. He's done more than all the armies that have visited our part of the world."

On the importance
of Palestinians:

"What happens to the Palestinians affects everybody in the region. It’s the key to the beginning of a solution for regional problems."

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November 5, 2007
Ashrawi urges more efforts for Palestinian-Israeli peace

By carol clark

Has peace between Israelis and Palestinians become too ambitious a goal?

Although the picture looks increasingly bleak, Hanan Ashrawi said she still believes in the cause. “I belong to a rapidly diminishing minority — those who still believe in a peaceful resolution and that a two-state solution in Palestine is still possible. We are the die-hards.”

A scholar and political leader who has served several times on the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ashrawi is the founder and chair of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy. In her Oct. 29 talk at Emory, Ashrawi said that the deteriorating conditions on the ground are no excuse for abandoning efforts for peace.

Peace should not be viewed as “an occasional endeavor that we pursue when things are easy, or when it’s fashionable or acceptable, and we drop it when conditions become too tough. It’s a constant value and, therefore, a constant objective and worth pursuing,” she said.

Ashrawi’s visit was part of “Inquiry, Conflict and Peacebuilding in the Middle East.” The series began last February when former President Jimmy Carter gave a talk on his book “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid,” and has continued with speakers giving a range of views on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. An Evening at Emory course and journeys by Emory faculty and students to the Middle East organized by the Dean of the Chapel and Religious Life are also part of the series.

Palestinians are currently undergoing “one of the most difficult phases in our history,” Ashrawi said, describing a people “under siege,” economically, politically and territorially.

“The horrific wall that created the situation that President Carter called apartheid is still being built, imprisoning whole communities, taking away their land, stealing and blocking our horizon – both physically and metaphorically,” she said.

Hundreds of checkpoints have fragmented Palestinian society, “making life impossible,” Ashrawi said, contributing to record levels of poverty and unemployment.

“Technically, the elections that brought Hamas to power were free and fair,” she said. “But, at the same time, we were a people carrying out elections under occupation, a people traumatized, a people with no freedom whatsoever, with an economy under collapse.”

The United States has announced plans for a conference within the next few weeks to try to re-launch negotiations for a Palestinian state. Ashrawi said U.S. negotiators need to help work out a complete solution with a binding timetable.

“It is time for genuine, positive engagement and involvement,” she said. “The kind of engagement that has been demonstrated [at Emory], where you are sending delegations to the region and are telling the world that the academy is really part of shaping reality — ideas as well as reality.”