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Women in Power reveal what it takes  Back to top
 What it takes
Hanan AshrawiHanan Ashrawi
former spokeswoman for
Palestine Liberation Organisation
Family influences    

 What she says
 Who is she?
 Brief biography
 Family influences
 Commitment to Palestine
 Speaking out
 Facing danger
 A woman's approach
 Daring and direct
 Building networks
 Doing it all
 Breaking down barriers
 Links to other sites

At the time Ashrawi was born, Ramallah had a large Christian community. Ashrawi's father was a doctor with a reputation for never refusing a call for help. When she was two years old, the state of Israel was created. In 1948 the state of Israel was created in traditional Arab lands. Its existence was challenged by neighbouring countries and, in response to attacks by Arab neighbours, Israel secured its borders by occupying lands in which Palestinians had lived for generations. Ashrawi's father was a founder of the Palestine Liberation Organisation - the PLO. The authorities jailed him for his work with the PLO. As well as pursuing the rights of the Palestine people, he was also a particular champion of women's rights and a powerful influence on Hanan Ashrawi.

"My father is the main influence - because he defended women's rights even when it was not popular to do so… and he raised us to believe in ourselves and not to accept any type of discrimination. But a great collective influence has always been the real suffering of the Palestinian people, I felt that was the determining force in my life, that we have a people who have paid a heavy price through no fault of their own and became victims of history.. and that has always been the influence and the motivating force - the force that drove me on to continue even under extreme difficult conditions."