Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), on Thursday accused Israel of sabotaging the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported that Ashrawi’s accusations were made during a meeting in Ramallah with a delegation from the American J Street organization.
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 a statement quoted by Ma’an.
"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," she charged.
"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 added.
Ashrawi also reiterated the PA’s demands that any successful peace agreement must include the establishment of a Palestinian state along the indefensible pre-1967 borders with its capital in eastern Jerusalem, a "just solution" to the Palestinian refugee question and the "beginning of the dismantlement of settlements and outposts and the implementation of the Palestinian people's inalienable rights to freedom and sovereignty."
J Street prides itself as being “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace” but many Jewish Americans believe that the organization actually undermines the interests of the State of Israel and Jewish people. Numerous Jewish leaders and organizations have publicly disassociated themselves, altogether, from J Street’s rhetoric and policies.
J Street has endorsed terror groups and one of its co-founders has even claimed that Israel’s creation was “an act that was wrong.”
The group has also hidden the fact that it receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from pro-Palestinian Authority billionaire George Soros, who once said Israeli and American policies fuel anti-Semitism.
Ashrawi has previously stated that Israel's demand that the PA recognize it as a Jewish state is an attempt to “legalize racism,” claiming that Israel wants to “create a narrative that denies the Palestinian presence, rights, and continuity on the historic Palestinian lands.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly explained that PA recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is essential to a peace agreement, noting that the PA’s refusal to recognize Israel is the root of the decades-long conflict.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has in the past refused to recognize Israel, but a senior PLO official was quoted as saying on Thursday that he was prepared to do so.