Palestinian Flag 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In the context of its efforts to persuade the Palestinian Authority to drop its
plan to ask the UN in September to recognize a Palestinian state, the US
administration has invited PA officials to Washington for talks about ways to
avoid the statehood bid.
PA sources said that Chief PLO negotiator Saeb
Erekat and Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, will
travel to Washington soon for talks with US government officials on the
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The London-based Al-Hayat
newspaper quoted a PA official
as saying that the US administration was searching for a formula that would
allow the two sides to resume peace negotiations, so that the Palestinians could
abandon their statehood plan.
The US has so far failed to come up with
such a formula, the official said.
Israeli officials said that Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has indicated that he would agree to a formula based
on entering the negotiations using the pre-1967 lines, with mutually agreed
swaps, as the baseline – as long as the Palestinians agree in turn that the goal
of the negotiations would be two states.
The officials said that
intensive discussions on this matter have been held involving Israeli,
Palestinian, US, EU and Russian officials.
So far the Palestinians have
given no sign of a willingness to accept a formula that recognizes Israel as a
Jewish state, the officials said.
This will be the second time in the
last few weeks that Erekat and Abu Rudaineh will be going to Washington for
talks on the statehood bid.
Following their last visit, the PA emissaries
said that the US administration had made it clear that it would use the veto to
thwart the statehood plan at the UN Security Council.
described the statehood initiative as a “positive development” for the two-state
He was speaking following a meeting of Arab League
representatives in Doha, Qatar, late Wednesday, to discuss the PA
“Our request for UN permanent membership for the Palestinian state
on the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as its capital does not mean that we are
seeking confrontation with anyone,” Erekat said.
“The move is only aimed
at maintaining the option of the two states, and to preserve the peace
He also said that the PA step was not an attempt to isolate or
“We’re going to the UN to delegitimize the
settlements and occupation,” he explained. “We seek to legitimize the birth of
the Palestinian state.”
The Arab League representatives agreed on a work
plan to back the PA’s statehood bid. The plan includes holding meetings and
consultations with members of the Security Council to seek their support for the
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.