The 11th Annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture, presented by the Australian Friends of Palestine Association, was held on September 5 at the University of Adelaide.
Dr Salam Fayyad was the guest speaker. He was the inaugural President of the State of Palestine (2007-2013) and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2010.
His keynote address focused on the need for continuing political unity between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Palestine needs a collective voice, especially before statehood is achieved. This will facilitate representative dialogue with the international community.
Fractured political voices will not lead to positive outcomes. At this important time factions must pragmatically work together to achieve common goals, he said.
Once Palestinian statehood is realised, national elections can be called.
Fayyad stressed that statehood needs to be rolled out “despite the occupation” and work around the complications that occupation brings. Good governance is something that can be achieved before formal statehood. This will help to meet the pressing needs and aspirations of the Palestinian people and place a future state on a solid footing.
From his perspective a sovereign Palestine cannot be a “Mickey Mouse” state. It is essential that the land be returned to 1967 borders. Israel must adjust to this.
The international community needs to play a stronger role in “raising the bar” of expectations on Israel.
Resolutions should be honoured by all countries. Israel ignores resolutions far too often, especially around issues such as human rights and illegal settlements.
This process will not be easy to achieve but the appalling “human condition” in the occupied territories insists that it must be attempted.