The Palestinians must be prepared for the possibility that the US and Israel may
impose severe economic restrictions on the Palestinian Authority the day after
the UN upgrades the status of a Palestinian entity to non-member state, chief
PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat warned on Thursday.
“It’s very important to be
prepared for Israeli reactions to the upgrading of the Palestinian state’s
status so as to avoid a state of internal chaos,” Erekat said in an report about
the implications of the statehood bid.
“Palestinian institutions must be
prepared for a state of emergency to limit, as much as possible, the negative
impact of the anticipated step.” Erekat’s warning came as the PA leadership
reiterated its intention to ask the UN later this month for an upgrade to the
status of nonmember state.
The chief negotiator said he expected Congress
and the US administration to take a number of “retaliatory” measures in response
to the Palestinian statehood bid, such as freezing financial aid to the PA,
closing the PLO mission’s office in Washington and exerting pressure on
governments worldwide to dissuade them from supporting the bid.
said he also expected the Americans to suspend funds to a number of UN agencies
and organizations, first and foremost the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
(UNRWA) which works solely with Palestinians.
As for Israel’s expected
response, Erekat said that the Israeli government may carry out its threat to
unilaterally withdraw from some areas in the West Bank, freeze tax revenues
belonging to the PA, instigate a “security deterioration” on the ground and
impose restrictions on the Palestinian economy, particularly its private
Erekat said he expected Israel to also annex the Jordan Valley,
expand settlements and walk away from the Oslo Accords that were signed with the
PLO in 1993.
Meanwhile, the PLO published a “position paper” explaining
its motives behind the renewed statehood bid.
The paper said that the PLO
“seeks to enhance Palestine’s status to that of an observer state, as a
significant step toward fulfilling the Palestinian people’s natural, historical
and legal rights to self-determination and independence.”
the PLO, “this step is a continuation of the standing Palestinian application
for membership at the United Nations, which was lodged on September 23,
“Together with the international community, Palestine believes that
the status quo of political deadlock, while occupation, colonization and
apartheid policies become further entrenched, is neither acceptable nor
sustainable. The Palestinian initiative intends to protect the prospects of
peace and accelerate its realization.
This step reaffirms and protects
the internationally endorsed two-state solution. It is anchored in relevant
United Nations resolutions, including General Assembly resolutions 181 and 194,
and international law.” The PLO paper added that “according to international
law, self-determination is a universally recognized inalienable right that is
not subject to negotiation.
Independence has never been a final-status
issue and statehood has never been negotiated bilaterally. The right of peoples
to self-determination is non-negotiable and the Palestinian people will thus
never negotiate this right or subject it to Israel’s whims. Enhancing
Palestine’s status at the UN is a step toward justice and will be an affirmation
of the international community’s commitment to the universal values of human
rights, as embodied in the United Nations Charter.”
The PLO explained
that the Palestinian “initiative seeks to end occupation and realize the
establishment of the State of Palestine; it does not seek to delegitimize or
Rather, this step seeks to delegitimize the policies of
occupation and colonization and to overcome the paralysis in the international
community, especially with regard to ending Israel’s impunity and compelling its
compliance with international law.”
The Palestinian effort, according to
the PLO, is consistent with the formal Palestinian recognition of Israel in
1993, and consistent with the internationally endorsed goal of the peace process
– two states living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the
“Recognition is necessary to achieve the ultimate
objective of the two-state solution and expedite its realization at a time when
Israel is incessantly and recklessly undermining that solution and the prospects
for achieving a just peace,” the PLO said.
President Mahmoud Abbas called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday
to return to the negotiations table and discuss the two-state solution based on
the 1967 borders, Channel 2 reported.
In an interview set to air Friday
on Channel 2, Abbas also vowed that as long as he is PA president, there will be
no third intifada.
“We don’t want to use terror; we don’t want to use
force,” Abbas said. “We want to use diplomacy and negotiations.”
earlier, Netanyahu discussed with French President François Hollande the need to
rekindle the long-frozen peace talks.
Netanyahu said he would be happy to
meet Abbas in Paris.
“I am willing to go to negotiations right away
without any preconditions,” Netanyahu said.
“If you want to test that,
then President Hollande can invite President Abbas to the Élysée, and I’m here,
I’m ready. It will take him a day to get here. We can start. From my point of
view, it’s immediate and without preconditions,” Netanyahu said at the press
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Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.