[R-G] Palestinian State May Have to Be Abandoned: chief Palestinian negotiator
shniad at gmail.com
Fri Nov 6 14:44:18 MST 2009
The New York
November 4, 2009
*Palestinian State May Have to Be Abandoned: Erekat*
*The alternative left for Palestinians is to "refocus their attention on the
one-state solution where Muslims, Christians and Jews can live as equals. It
is very serious. This is the moment of truth for us."*
* -- Saeb Erekat*
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinians may have to abandon the goal of
an independent state if Israel continues to expand Jewish settlements and
the United States does not stop it, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
said on Wednesday.
It may be time for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to "tell his people
the truth, that with the continuation of settlement activities, the
two-state solution is no longer an option," Erekat told a news conference.
Israel has rejected the idea of a de facto annexation of the occupied West
Bank, incorporating the Palestinians as citizens, as "demographic timebomb"
that would make Jews the minority.
Citing a 2003 peace "road map," Abbas has made a cessation of Israeli
settlement activity in the West Bank a precondition for resuming statehood
talks with Israel.
The road map also required that Palestinians dismantle armed groups like
Islamist Hamas, which opposes peace talks. That did not happen, and Hamas
now controls the Gaza Strip -- half the Palestinian polity -- in a running
challenge to Abbas's mandate.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who met Israeli and Palestinian
leaders on Saturday, unsuccessfully urged Abbas to negotiate with Israel and
resolve the settlement issue within the framework of the talks.
Erekat said Clinton -- who praised as unprecedented Netanyahu's offer to
temporarily limit construction in West Bank settlements to 3,000 additional
housing units -- was only opening the door to more settlements in the next
The alternative left for Palestinians is to "refocus their attention on the
one-state solution where Muslims, Christians and Jews can live as equals,"
Erekat said. "It is very serious. This is the moment of truth for us."
DICTATION VS NEGOTIATION
Erekat said Netanyahu's concept of a separate Palestinian state alongside
Israel with limited powers of sovereignty and his uncompromising position on
the future of Jerusalem were tantamount to dictating the terms of peace
Netanyahu, Erekat said, told Abbas "that Jerusalem will be the eternal and
united capital of Israel, that refugees won't be discussed, that our state
will be demilitarized, that we have to recognize the Jewish state, that it's
not going to be the 1967 borders, that the skies will be under his control"
"This is dictation and not negotiations," he said.
Netanyahu and Abbas last met in New York in September in a handshake meeting
arranged by U.S. President Barack Obama.
Palestinians seek to establish their future state on all of the West Bank
and Gaza, lands captured from Jordan and Egypt in a 1967 war, with East
Jerusalem as its capital. "Anything short of that is a non-option for us,"
"If the Israelis believe they want to partition the West Bank with us, this
is a no-go. This is a non-starter," Erekat said, in reference to Israeli
control of West Bank settlements, adjacent land, and the territory's eastern
Jordan Valley border.
Clinton reaffirmed in Cairo on Wednesday that Washington does not accept the
legitimacy of the Israeli settlements.
But she added, in another nudge to Palestinians to talk with Israel:
"Getting into final status negotiations will allow us to bring an end to
Erekat said Palestinians "made a mistake" in the past by agreeing to
negotiate with Israel without insisting on a settlement halt, and they were
not about to repeat that error.
In a statement, Netanyahu said Israel's aim remained the quick resumption of
peace talks. But he also deplored the split between Hamas and Abbas's
secular Fatah faction, which has widened over the president's disputed call
for a January 24 ballot.
"The possibility that Palestinian election might be held soon is causing a
polarization of Palestinian Authority positions regarding Israel and is
hindering the opening of negotiations," Netanyahu's office quoted him as
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