Ramallah’s mayor, Janet Michael, 66, is unusual in almost every way.
For one, she is the first woman to be mayor of any Palestinian city. Catholics number about 10 percent of Ramallah’s population; she is a Catholic. Never married, she was for twenty years headmistress of a girls’ school.
In a region of growing polarization, the invariably elegantly attired Michael, mayor for almost six years, was elected as leader of an independent slate of candidates called “Ramallah For All.”
She rarely finds the time to be available for the press.
On the day that thousands gathered in Ramallah’s central square in support of Palestine’s bid for U.N. recognition as a sovereign state, Michael answered a few questions:
GlobalPost: What are your reactions to the Palestinian initiative for statehood recognition at the UN?
Janet Michael: We strongly support the initiative of our president to go to the U.N. especially as the last years of negotiations have proved to be a failure due to the Israeli stubbornness and position which proved to be against having a two-state solution.
What will you gain?
We as Palestinians regard this step of representation in the U.N. and the recognition of the Palestinian state of major importance as this will be for one time at least an implementation of a U.N. resolution in favor of Palestine especially as many previous resolutions that were taken by the U.N. have not been implemented.
Do you have any concerns regarding what might happen after the vote?
Yes we have serious concerns that the reaction of some countries may become hostile towards us Palestinians, especially after its positions become clear to the international community with regard to support of the Palestinian cause and their support of the establishment of a Palestinian state.
We will also support the call of the Palestinian Authority with regards any action to be taken to support legal rights.