Senior Palestinian Official Ashrawi Reportedly Resigns Over Renewed Coordination With Israel

Jack Khoury
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Hanan Ashrawi scuffles with Israeli police officers as they take her election banner from her during a campaign stop in front of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, January 3, 2006
Hanan Ashrawi scuffles with Israeli police officers as they take her election banner from her during a campaign stop in front of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, January 3, 2006Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jack Khoury

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi has resigned from her role as member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Executive Committee, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Monday, citing sources close to her.

According the report, her resignation is in protest of the Palestinian leadership’s decision last month to resume coordination with Israel. The sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Ashrawi “was angry with how the issue was handled.”

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According to the report, the 74-year-old, seen as a trailblazer for women in Palestinian politics, submitted a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but he has yet to respond to it.

Speaking to Haaretz, sources close to Ashrawi did not deny the report. Senior officials said Ashrawi asked Abbas to leave her position also due to personal reasons, after contracting the coronavirus in October.

These officials said Abbas made it clear to Ashrawi that he doesn't intend to accept her resignation, arguing that  such a decision must be made by the Palestinian National Council, which appoints PLO Executive Committee members.

Ashrawi, who rose to international recognition at the Madrid Conference of 1991, where she served as the spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation, made no official statement on the matter.

The report came nearly a month after PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat died. President Abbas has yet to name a successor.

In May, President Mahmoud Abbas announced the Palestinian Authority would suspend all agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the United States, affecting both security and civilian issues, after Israel's proposal to annex the Jordan Valley and settlements in the West Bank.

A deal establishing formal relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in August led to an Israeli suspension of any such moves, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that the United States had asked for the suspension and claiming that it was temporary. 

Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh said last month while announcing the restoration of coordination that the Palestinian Authority had been given assurances that Israel would respect its existing agreements with the Palestinians. Israeli defense officials meanwhile said that Joe Biden's victory in the U.S. presidential election made it easier for the Palestinians to agree to resume relations.

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