(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat hinted on Sunday that the Palestinians might dissolve the Palestinian Authority and call on Israel to fully assume its responsibilities over the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In an interview with YNET, Erekat said that the Palestinian leadership would meet soon to discuss calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to come and assume his responsibilities on the occupied Palestinian territories.”
Referring to the Israeli decision to withhold tax funds belonging to the Palestinian Authority, Erekat said: “Netanyahu is destroying the Palestinian Authority. What authority did he leave? The Israeli people don’t see us anymore and that’s the problem.”
Erekat claimed that the Israeli government has cancelled the PA’s political, legal, economic, security and territorial jurisdiction over Palestinian territories.
“We are an authority by name,” he said. “We are not going to dissolve the Palestinian Authority; actually Mr. Netanyahu managed to destroy the authority. That’s what he’s been planning since he came to office – to destroy the Palestinian Authority and to resume his occupying power as he was before 1992.”
Erekat warned that Israel was committing “war crimes” by withholding the tax funds and continuing with its policy of settlement activities, house demolitions, deportations and land confiscations.
He said that the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN Security Council and the decision to join the International Criminal Court were “peaceful actions.”
The Israeli government, Erekat added, has left the Palestinians with no other option. “They are the masters of unilateral steps,” he said.
“What do you call settlement activity? What do you call the home demolitions? What do you call land confiscation? What do you call an authority without an authority? Netanyahu wants the occupation to be cost-free. You will find yourselves fully responsible, as was the case before 1992. So your children will be running after my children in Jericho and Bethlehem and Hebron. That’s what Netanyahu wants and congratulations. He will get it.”
Erekat said that the Palestinians’ next step would be to expedite its work with the ICC. “We will work with the International Federation of Lawyers to see what can be done to protect the daily lives of Palestinians,” he said.
Erekat said that the decision to freeze the tax funds was a “collective punishment that would stop the work of Palestinian hospitals and schools.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Sunday that the Palestinians would resume their statehood bid at the United Nations Security Council “despite pressure they are facing.”
Abbas said during a cultural event in Ramallah: “We will go back to the Security Council until it recognizes our rights. We are determined to join international conventions and treaties despite the pressure.”
Abbas said the Palestinians remained committed to a “just and comprehensive peace that would end the occupation and lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.”
He said that there would be no security or stability in the region without Jerusalem becoming the capital of a Palestinian state.
“We did not fail at the Security Council,” Abbas said. “Rather, it’s the Security Council that failed. That’s why we decided to join 20 international conventions and treaties, including the International Criminal Court. And we will continue with our efforts.”