Palestinian envoy meets Jewish Australian group to discuss statehood 8Aug11 August 8, 2011

Haaretz  -  8 August 2011

Dr Ghassan Khatib, the Special Envoy of the Palestinian Authority President, addressed the Capital Jewish Forum at the Victorian Parliament House in Australia last week, to discuss the future of a Palestinian state, according to a J-Wire report.

“The main message I am trying to convey in Australia, which is similar to messages my other colleagues are conveying in other parts of the world is a message of urgency in the situations in the Middle East as far as the Palestinian-Israeli situations are concerned,” Khatib said to the Jewish Australian group.

The Palestinian representative said that his main objective in speaking to the group was to encourage international involvement in achieving regional Palestinian-Israeli peace.

“The reason is that we believe that one of the defects of this peace process is that it did not enjoy serious and effective support and attention by the international community that includes the fact that the international community failed into providing the peace process with agreed on terms of reference, in addition to guidance and supervision,” Khatib told the group, adding that “the international community did not do its best to use its leverage on the two sides to convince them, pressure them, do whatever it takes to help them in achieving this normal objective.”

Khatib held a question/answer question after delivering his remarks, and many of the Jewish Australian attendees grilled the Palestinian leader about the plausibility of a future Palestinian state.

One person asked about the Palestinian Authority’s intention to request recognition of statehood in the UN this September, questioning “what sort of decision-making process and what indications do you have at the moment that the international community will vote in favor of your declaration and where does Australia stand in this at the moment?”

The Palestinian representative answered that the PA has not finalized its plan to approach the UN, saying they are trying to get the feedback from countries throughout the world and receive advice on the matter. “After this we are going to have an assessment and put the plan forward, the details of what we are going to do in the United Nations,” he added.

Khatib cautioned that “it is important to avoid the possibility of ending up with another resolution, whether from the General Assembly or the Security Council. What we are after is to encourage the international community to practically help push things forward towards the implementation of the international community’s vision of peace which is the two-state solution. So this time we are hoping to encourage the international community to go beyond just voting for or against another resolution because we have enough resolutions in the Security Council and in the General Assembly.”

He said that the Australian people have been very receptive to the Palestinian cause, adding “we believe that Australia can be more helpful. Australia has special and good relations with Israel, which puts Australia in an advantageous position because we believe that countries like Australia should not have any problem being friendly to Israel and supportive of Israel, especially the legitimate rights and requirements of Israel on one hand, and the legitimate rights of the Palestinians [on the other].”


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