Ashrawi meets J Street delegation in Ramallah
Published Thursday 20/02/2014 (updated) 22/02/2014 12:10
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A top PLO Executive Committee member met with the US Zionist lobbying organization J Street in Ramallah on Wednesday, according to a PLO statement.
In the second meeting between high-level Palestinian officials and Israeli or pro-Israeli groups this week, a J Street delegation led by founder Jeremy Ben-Ami met with Palestinian political leader Hanan Ashrawi.
J Street is a US Zionist political lobbying organization that defines itself as "pro-Israel, pro-peace" and advocates for Israel's existence as "the Jewish homeland" alongside a Palestinian state.
Ashrawi briefed the delegation on "the latest political developments, the ongoing negotiations, and Israel's violations of international law and their impact on prospects for peace and on the region," according to the statement.
"Israel is willfully sabotaging U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry's efforts and using the negotiations as a cover to continue with its illegal settlement activities, particularly in and around Jerusalem, and the theft of Palestinian lands and resources, among other violations," the statement quoted her as saying.
"The Jewish American community, particularly as represented by J Street, faces the dual challenge of influencing both the U.S. administration and the hardline and extremist Israeli government; for there to be peace and stability, we must move rapidly," she reportedly added.
She also stressed that any successful peace agreement must include the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with its capital in East Jerusalem, a "just solution" to the Palestinian refugee question based on UN resolution 194, as well as the "beginning of the dismantlement of settlements and outposts and the implementation of the Palestinian people's inalienable rights to freedom and sovereignty."
Although J Street supports the right of Palestinians to "a sovereign state of their own," the group opposes boycott or other tactics deployed by Palestinian civil society to pressure Israel.
On Sunday, President Mahmoud Abbas met with a group of Israeli students in Ramallah to discuss ongoing peace negotiations. During the meeting, Abbas said that he would not divide Jerusalem but instead envisioned a shared, open capital.
He also said, "We do not seek, and we will not seek, to flood Israel with millions in order to change its social culture," referring to the nearly five million Palestinian refugees who were expelled or fled from their homes in what is today Israel in 1948.