It could have gone either way, but Palestinian participants say the July 31 meeting between a handful of members of the “Civil Dialogue Committee” appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas, and the Knesset “Caucus to Resolve the Arab-Israeli Conflict”, went even better than expected.
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, head of the Political Committee and the Fatah bloc in the [non-functioning] Palestinian Legislative Council [PLC] said he was relieved that there’d been no raucous denunciation in Israel either of the meeting itself, or of the Palestinian flag displayed, next to Israel’s, at the front of the room. He said he’d been worried that the caucus might “be subject to criticism — for hosting terrorists”.
“The substance was more important than seeing the Palestinian flag in the Knesset”, Dr. Abdullah said – but he nonetheless said it was indeed the first time the Palestinian flag had been displayed inside the Knesset, during a meeting.
Abdullah, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council who also works on the Fatah Foreign Relations Committee with Nabil Shaath, said that “every MK who spoke in the meeting was in favor of the two-state solution”. A Times of Israel account of the meeting is posted here.
Mohammad Madani, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, its highest decision-making body, was named by Abbas to head the “Civil Dialogue Committee”. He said the meeting had been “fruitful”, and added that “we were very happy to see MKs who stand behind the two-state solution”.
Abdullah conceded that “We are sensitive to the ‘normalization’ issue”, but he said that “we know that when we meet, they are the occupiers and we are the occupied. We were not there to tolerate the occupation — but to tell them it must end”.