On August 4th, the Geneva Initiative hosted a panel of four Palestinian leaders on the topic of “Between Annexation and Corona: a Palestinian perspective.” The panel was moderated by Tal Shalev, Chief Political Correspondent for Walla! News, and addressed questions from a politically diverse audience of around 100 Israelis. Panel participants included:
- Dr. Samih El-Abed – former minister and senior member of the Palestinian negotiations team
- Ms. Nada Majdalani – Palestinian Director of EcoPeace, member of the Two-State Coalition
- Ms. Nivine Sandouka – director of “Hoqoqna” (Our Rights) in Jerusalem and advisor for Palestinian and women’s rights
- Dr. Shaddad Attili – senior member of PLO negotiations department and former Minister of Water.
The speakers discussed their continued concerns about annexation and the far-ranging consequences that the policy threat has already had on political, economic, and social spheres. As Nada Majdalani pointed out, at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis “there has been great potential for cooperation between the PA and the Israeli government… With annexation, there will be lots of lost opportunities. Lost opportunities with regard to Covid-19, but also lost opportunities for larger concepts which would enable us to combat climate change, natural threats, and the economic threats of this era.”
Dr. El-Abed emphasised that annexation “is a game changer. If this happens, there is no future for us. There is no future for anybody within that area,” and added that the Trump Plan needed to be entirely dismissed for there to be reasonable progress made towards peace, and not only the annexation component of the plan. Dr. Attili discussed Palestinian public opinion and attitudes towards the peace process, offering a hopeful tone that if annexation is averted it may reopen a new political horizon with the possibility to restart coordination, and a political process. Nivine Sandouka discussed the Palestinian public’s attitudes towards the PA during the Covid-19 crisis, mentioning a growing division in opinions about the handling of the crisis but a continued unified opposition to annexation. She also noted that among Palestinian youth, the annexation plan only strengthened their support for a one-state solution.
To watch a video from the event click here.
The discussion was held in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.