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Nabil Shaath: 'I have seen peace work'
The senior PLO negotiator talks about the prospects for a Palestinian state and the search for 'relative justice'.
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2011 13:45

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), is set to call for statehood in his address to the UN General Assembly on Friday.

The US, a major source of financing and aid for the PA, opposes this unilateral call and has warned of repercussions.

As one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, it has said it will block the move on the grounds that only a resumption of a two decade-old negotiation process with Israel can advance the cause of peace.

At the heart of the Palestinian effort is Nabil Shaath, a senior negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for more than 20 years. He has been dealing with the Americans, Israelis and Europeans alike and his frustrations are now evident.

"It's utterly ridiculous to negotiate with the Israelis an exchange of land for peace, when there's no peace and the land is vanishing piece by piece.

We're at an impasse; the impasse today is caused obviously by a total inability to or a lack of will by the United States to get the Israelis to the negotiating table. For 20 years we were embedded to an American-driven peace process."

Nabil Shaath

He sits down with Al Jazeera's Teymoor Nabili to talk about the prospects for a Palestinian state, the importance of the PLO's decision to follow a non-violent struggle, his views of Barack Obama, the US president, and where things stand right now.

"Nobody is seeking absolute justice, as absolute justice at this time is unachievable. We're seeking relative justice.

I've seen how peace could work ... I've seen how the Israelis can also be drawn into hope, a real hope that brings real results.

It is doable, it is possible, I have seen it work and I have seen it fail. And I have seen that you have got to be dynamic to use [a] variety of means to achieve it."

Nabil Shaath
Al Jazeera
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