PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi met with Rt. Hon John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons of the UK Parliament, at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah. Mr. Bercow was accompanied by James Downer, Acting British Consul General and Laurie Hunter, Political Consul.
The discussion focused on the most recent political and regional developments, including Israel’s continued settlement activities and legislation and their impact on the prospects for peace and the two-state solution, U.S. President Donald Trump’s first official meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the ramifications of relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and how such a move will wreak havoc in the region and beyond, matters related to Brexit, and the role of women in peacemaking, as well as the internal situation and the importance of reconciliation and holding elections.
In the context of the 100-year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, Dr. Ashrawi urged the British government to undo the injustices of the past and to recognize the state of Palestine in the immediate future: “Now is the time to recognize Palestine if the two-state solution is to be a reality and not just a slogan.”
In addition, Dr. Ashrawi met with a visiting delegation from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which included Andrew Tomlinson, Head of the Quaker United Nations Office, Kerri Kennedy, Associate General Director for International Programs, Matilde Gomis-Perez, Country Director for Israel and Palestine, and Ilona Hazboun-Kassissieh, Regional Coordinator for Advocacy and Communications.
Dr. Ashrawi expressed her profound appreciation to AFSC for its continued support of Palestine and its firm dedication to peace and justice.
Both parties discussed the escalation of Israel’s violations of international law and its legislation calling for the illegal annexation of Palestinian land, the political climate in the U.S., AFSC’s commitment to nonviolent resistance and BDS, and UNSC Resolution 2334 and the need for the international community to go beyond symbolic moves and to undertake serious and efficient measures to hold Israel accountable for its violations, as well as issues of mutual interest and continuing cooperation in the future.