The peace talks with Israel have failed and the Palestinian Authority should seek membership in international agencies and forums, Chief PLO Negotiator Saeb Erekat declared Monday.
Erekat’s announcement came as another top PLO official, Jamal Muheissen, reiterated the Palestinians’ rejection of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s new ideas for security arrangements between a Palestinian state and Israel.
“We don’t need the nine-month period (set by Kerry) to judge the talks,” Erekat said. “Israel has foiled the talks.”
Referring to a ministerial committee’s decision to grant support to a bill that would annex the Jordan Valley, Erekat asked, “What does this decision mean?”
He called on the PA leadership to apply for membership of international organizations and forums with Arab backing.
Erekat also called on the international community to recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.
The PA leadership, he added, has prepared for joining United Nations bodies.
“Israel is responsible for foiling the efforts of Kerry,” he charged, saying that denying a future Palestinian state its border with Jordan “is a clear step toward apartheid.”
Erekat said that Israel is not interested in a two-state solution. “Israel wants to destroy the two-state solution through its daily practices,” he claimed, referring to the Jordan Valley decision.
That decision, however, is largely without teeth, and other ministers have already appealed it. By appealing it, they have ensured that it will have to be brought to the full cabinet for approval. Only Netanyahu has the authority to bring it to the cabinet, and government officials said that this appeared extremely unlikely, meaning the move is effectively buried.
Muheissen, the senior PLO official, said that the PA leadership was facing enormous pressure from the US and Arab countries to accept Kerry’s latest ideas, which include reaching another interim deal between Palestinians and Israel.
“The Palestinian leadership won’t succumb to any pressure that affects Palestinian rights,” he stressed. He also rejected the idea of extending the peace talks beyond the nine-month deadline, which expires next April.
The PA cabinet is planning to hold its weekly meeting in a village in the Jordan Valley on Tuesday to underline the area’s importance to the Palestinians, a PA official in Ramallah said.
The meeting will take place in the village of Ein al- Baida, the spokesman said. “The Jordan Valley is the eastern gate for the Palestinian state,” he added.