The international community is likely to ask the United Nations to recognize a
Palestinian state in September 2011 if a negotiated peace is not achieved in the
next half-year, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki said in Tel
Aviv on Monday night.
The Palestinians would prefer a state that is the
result of direct negotiations with Israel, he said at an event in Tel Aviv
University that was sponsored by the Peres Center for Peace.
‘Are we ready for statehood in September? Absolutely’
PA minister: Hamas wants instability
window for that process to take place ends in September, he
“Until this moment [a negotiated peace deal] is our choice, and
it will continue to be our choice until September 2011,” Malki said.
spoke in the midst of a deadlocked peace process, as no direct negotiations have
been held between Israelis and Palestinians for the last half-year.
Palestinians have insisted that they will not talk with Israel unless it halts
settlement activity and recognizes a Palestinian state along the pre-1967
borders with minor land swaps.
Israel has refused to halt settlement
activity and has insisted that talks should be held without
preconditions. It has accused the Palestinians of attempting to bypass
negotiations in favor of seeking unilateral recognition for
But Malki told the Tel Aviv audience, “We are not going to
declare unilaterally a Palestinian state. If we reach September 2011 [without a
negotiated peace deal or serious negotiations toward that deal] then it will be
clear to the international community that the Israeli leadership is not
interested in achieving peace with the Palestinians through
He added that “then, the international community will be
the one that will take this issue to the United Nations.”
diplomats are already speaking of Palestinians’ readiness for statehood and the
need to recognize a Palestinian state, he said.
“What I am trying to say
is, it won’t be us, it will be the international community that will say it is
overdue that we come to recognize a Palestinian state,” he said.
that occurred, the relationship with Israel would change, he said, asserting
that the West Bank wouldn’t be a disputed territory, but the occupied territory
of another state.
Halting settlement activity is essential, he said,
because not doing so eliminates the possibility of a two-state
“The way that Israel behaves in the Israeli occupied
territories shows and proves to us that what they are trying to do is to
eliminate the two-state solution,” he said. “We are fighting hard to preserve
the two-state option.”
Malki added that he agreed with Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu’s assessment that a binational state would be a
“What Netanyahu is doing is pushing us all toward the solution
of a binational state,” he said. “The moment a two-state option is dead, what is
left to us is a binational state.”
If a two-state solution were not
possible, the Palestinians would accept a binational option, but only if it was
a democratic state, where everyone had one vote, Malki
“Demographically in 20, 30 or 40 years’ time, we will be the
majority,” he warned.
He rejected any plan for a Palestinian state with
provisional borders and called on Netanyahu to be creative and
Malki also rejected security plans for the day after a
two-state solution was implemented, that would involve placing Israeli troops in
the Jordan Valley.
“We are ready to have a demilitarized state with no
army and only a strong police. We are ready to accept the presence of a third
international party,” he said.
Such a force could be from NATO, he
speculated, or it could be led by the US.
Israel could choose the nations
that would participate in this international force, he said. Its soldiers could
be Jewish, but they could not be Israeli because that would be an extension of
the occupation, he added.
“We cannot accept that there will be one
Israeli soldier in the Jordan Valley, even if it is Druse or a Muslim,” Malki
He attacked the peace process of the last two decades as “useless”
and said that regional changes over the last two months would force all the
parties find a new approach to resolving the Israeli- Palestinian
“The current peace process as it has been conducted so far is
over,” he said.
Malki called on Israel to take the necessary steps to
return to the negotiating table.
“We are willing to enter into
negotiations tomorrow if Israel will accept these points. We are willing to
engage with Israel 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.