Erekat: Netanyahu must choose peace or settlements

Chief Palestinian negotiator makes comments during visit to Washington; says "I will not join the Zionist movement."

November 6, 2010 13:33
1 minute read.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat gives a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Erekat 311. (photo credit: AP)

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat equates Israel's request of recognition as a Jewish state with a request to join the "Zionist movement," Army Radio reported on Saturday.

Erekat reportedly made the remark during his visit to Washington where he has met with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, as well as other senior State Department officials, saying "they [Israel] want me to join the Zionist movement. I will not."

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In addition, he said, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must choose between settlements and peace, referring to standoff in peace talks after the settlement building moratorium expired on September 26. The Palestinians have demanded a resumption of the freeze as a condition for rejoining direct talks.

Last week, Erekat said that the Palestinians are willing to give the United States at least two more weeks to break the impasse in the peace process and to return both sides to the negotiating table, despite a looming deadline set by the Arab League.

Despite the fact that the Arab League on October 9 gave the US only 30 days to find a way to continue the talks, Erekat said the Palestinians were willing to give the US the time it needed.

Hilary Leila Kreiger contributed to this report.

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