FP: What is the most important thing Israelis don't understand about Palestinians?
SE: That we are not going anywhere. As simple as that. We are not going to disappear just because their government builds an annexation wall around us.
They should close their eyes and imagine their state within 10 years time. What do they see? If they continue their policies, they are going to officially adopt the form of an apartheid regime, which I think is not what many Israelis want.
FP: What is the most important thing Palestinians have learned about Israelis?
SE: That Israelis will not take back the ships that brought them here to leave somewhere else. We got to understand that we have to live side by side. The rules of engagement, though, cannot be those of apartheid, but those of freedom.
FP: What do you expect from the next Israeli government on the peace process?
SE: I don't think there is room for optimism, but our position hasn't changed. We don't see any other solution than a two-state solution. Any Israeli government that recognizes this fact and respects what previous governments have agreed upon should become a partner for peace.
FP: Is Hamas-Fatah unity possible, and what would the impact be on the future of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations?
SE: We expect to have progress in the near future, with Hamas allowing the Central Elections Commission to register new voters in Gaza. I believe there is political agreement -- in fact, there is a signed agreement. We expect to have elections as soon as possible, which is the right way to solve our differences: Let our people decide, those in Palestine as well as our people in the Diaspora.
Having said so, Hamas has recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, including its mandate to negotiate a final status agreement with Israel. Once that is achieved, we expect to hold a national referendum.
FP: How would you describe Egypt's role in the peace process now? What do you expect from President Barack Obama's administration with regards to the peace process?
SE: Egypt has played a central role, and continues to do so. We trust that Egypt, under President Mohamed Morsy's leadership, will continue to play a strong role because Palestine and Egypt have a common interest in achieving peace.
President Obama had stated that he has a personal commitment to bring peace to the Middle East. We, the Egyptians, and the rest of the Arab world tell him that we are ready for peace. We have the Arab Peace Initiative. This goes in line with the stated U.S. national interest. Washington's failure to explicitly say that Israel is to blame for choosing settlements over peace has contributed to Israel's culture of impunity.
FP: Can America be an effective broker in negotiations?
SE: If the U.S. decides to be an honest broker, it could not only be effective but in fact could bring real peace to the region, a just and lasting one. The U.S. has a moral obligation toward the Palestinian people, who have been under occupation and living in exile for decades.
FP: Is a two state solution still possible?
SE: Yes, but only if there is a political will. So far, Israel's will is about colonization, and the international community has failed to put an end to decades of double standards by treating Israel as a state above the law. We don't see any other solution than a two-state solution, though Israel is taking us to a one-state reality.