Ghassan KhatibGhassan Khatib is on a short speaking tour of Australia.
I taped this speech by him and a couple of questions during an address at the Victorian State Parliament to the Parliamentary Friends of Palestine on 2 August 2011. Later in the day he spoke to a very large meeting organised in conjunction with the PFP by the Jewish Capital Forum, also at the same location and this is to be broadcast on Channel 31 in the near future. He is also speaking to Palestinian audiences.
He discusses the issues of normalization of relations with Israel; the continuing practices associated with the occupation; stonewalling by Israel; BDS campaigns; the politics and strategy of Hamas, and in his view, the imperative of a two-state solution. In his opinion, the direct support by countries such as Australia is absolutely critical because of the problems in both Israel and Palestine in coming to terms with each other.
Khatib is very much a Palestinian moderate though his position would be disputed by many in the homeland or diaspora community who have no time for the Palestinian Authority or PLO politics because the PLO as revealed in the Palestine Papers was prepared to virtually abandon such fundamentals as the right of return. His views would probably also not be accepted by many left factionalists, though in the final analysis, what really counts is what brings about a permanent peace and not a token cease fire.
Notwithstanding such criticisms, Ghassan Khatib is one of the editors and contributors to Bitter Lemons, a significant place for intercommunal dialogue. On the basis of reading his articles over the years, I think it is fair to say that he has a very good understanding of the politics of both communities. His remarks on Hamas are also worth listening to.
As usual, this post is not officially endorsed by AJDS. [please note: the first 3 minutes or so are not great quality, but it then improves considerably]
Play or download (right mouse button/save) the speech (about 40 minutes).