I sat down with Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, at her Ramallah office. We shared a plate of “healthy stuff,” fresh fruits and vegetables — in contrast to the cigarette smoke-filled rooms of the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters, the Muqata — and discussed the PLO’s strategies for 2012.
1. You were in Cairo three weeks ago for Fatah-Hamas reconciliation talks. How are the unity talks being affected by the Quartet’s January 26 deadline?
Dr. Ashrawi: I don’t even think about it as a deadline, because I would hate to link our own internal domestic issues to what the Quartet says. Frankly speaking, the Quartet hasn’t been doing anything. It’s just all show and no substance; all talk and no action. And I don’t see why we should adopt their deadlines knowing that they’re not doing anything, and all they’re doing is asking us to negotiate. And they should know better because they are seeing what’s happening on the ground…. We don’t have anything against talks. But we have something against talks that are used for a pretext to provide Israel with cover — legal cover, protection, and time to destroy the two-state solution…. Now either they rectify the negotiations, the so-called process, or we look for something else.