Erekat says Israelis shouldn't be afraid of Arab democracy

Former PA official says 2 things needed in Mideast: Israeli-Palestinian peace, democracy; accuses Al-Jazeera of trying to bring down PA.

February 13, 2011 10:40
1 minute read.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat gives a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Erekat 311. (photo credit: AP)

Former chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat told Army Radio on Sunday that Israelis should not be afraid of democracy in the Arab world. Democracy is the "main support system for peace," he said.

The long-time PA official added that events in Egypt "mark a turning point in Arab history." He explained that two things are needed for the region: "Peace between Israel and Palestinians, and democracy in the Arab world."

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The belief held by some Israelis that Arabs cannot successfully implement democracy, he added, is racist.

Asked if he finds irony in the fact that he resigned from a negotiating unit that is not currently involved in any negotiations, Erekat said, "We don't have a partner for peace, unfortunately."

Explaining his decision to resign as head of the PA's negotiation unit, Erekat said that a crime was committed in his office and "I could not have business as usual. This was a major breach of our national security."

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He said that he has devoted his life to the building of a Palestinian state where leaders are accountable and therefore, "I cannot preach one thing" and then do another.

When asked who leaked the secret documents that were presented by Al-Jazeera as "The Palestine papers," Erekat said that a reporter who previously worked for the US State Department was responsible and accused the state-owned Qatari news network of trying to bring down the Palestinian Authority.

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