The Obama administration has told the Palestinian Authority it will oppose PA
plans to seek unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at the United
Nations, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Thursday.
announcement came at the end of a visit to Washington, where he and other PA
representatives held talks with officials that focused on the PA’s stated goal
of gaining recognition for a state along the pre-1967 lines in
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“With regards to our intention to seek membership of a
Palestinian state in the UN, the Americans consider it a non-option, and they
said that they will oppose it,” Erekat said.
The PA leadership is
scheduled to hold a meeting in Ramallah in the coming days to discuss its
response to the US threat to foil its statehood bid.
A PA official told
The Jerusalem Post
on Wednesday that the Palestinians were prepared to delay the
UN move if they received guarantees that Israel would refrain from “creating new
facts on the ground” in the coming weeks.
It was the first time a senior
PA figure talked about the possibility of a postponement. His comments were seen
to be the result of growing pressure by the US and several EU countries for the
PA to abandon its statehood plan and return to the negotiating table with
Erekat said that during his talks in Washington, he requested
that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declare an agreement in principle to the
two-state solution on the basis of the pre- 1967 lines, and that he halt
construction in the settlements.
Erekat said he also told US officials
that the recent Egyptian-brokered reconciliation accord between Fatah and Hamas
was in the Palestinian “national interest” and the path to “achieving democracy
and two states.”
Erekat said that he and Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman
for the PA leadership in the West Bank, informed the Americans of the
Palestinians’ intention to seek membership of a Palestinian state in the
The purpose of such a move is to consolidate the idea of a two-state
solution, Erekat said, adding that Palestinian and Arab committees were
discussing the idea’s implications.
He described US opposition to the
statehood bid as “illogical” and pointed out that the administration offered no
“The US [position] is that the peace process is the only
option,” Erekat told the PA’s Al-Ayyam
“Washington is making
efforts to resume the negotiations on the basis of US President Barack Obama’s
recent speech [at the State Department].
But they haven’t determined when
and how they will do this.”
Erekat said he informed the Americans that
unless Netanyahu accepted a two-state solution on the basis of the pre-1967
lines and fulfilled his obligations, the peace process would be a “waste of
time.” He added that he presented the Americans with maps and documents that
showed Israel was imposing facts on the ground in Jerusalem and the West
Regarding the Fatah-Hamas unity deal, Erekat said the
administration would judge the new Palestinian government according to its
makeup and political program, and the extent of its commitment to the PLO’s
PA officials in Ramallah, meanwhile, denied a newspaper report
about differences between senior Palestinian leaders over the UN statehood
Nimer Hammad, political adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said
the report was baseless. He added that the PA leadership was determined to go
ahead with its plan to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in September.