(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
PLO Executive Committee member Mustafa Barghouti welcomed the overall message of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Wednesday, but he said the Palestinian leadership cannot accept the top US diplomat’s suggested parameters.
“All in all, I think that the speech was very impressive in making very clear the diagnosis of the situation and in making it very clear that Israel has one choice... either a one-state or a two-state solution,” Barghouti told The Jerusalem Post, before qualifying that, “The concluding principles were not something we could agree with.”
Kerry’s speech comes less than a week after the US abstained on a UN Security Council resolution critical of settlements.
Barghouti elaborated that the Kerry’s principles pertaining to refugees, recognition of the Jewish state, and Jerusalem are “unacceptable.”
“First, you cannot make the issue of Palestinian refugees only an issue of compensation; you cannot deny people their right to return to their home,” Barghouti said, responding to Kerry’s point that most refugees will not return to their historic homes and instead receive compensation.
“Second, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would deny the right of the Palestinian people who are citizens of Israel and that is totally unacceptable.
Israel cannot be a Jewish and a democratic state at the same time,” Barghouti continued.
Kerry said that both sides will have to recognize each other including Israel recognizing Palestine as a home for Palestinians, and Palestine recognizing Israel as a home for Jews.
“Third, his formula about Jerusalem is absolutely something that the Palestinians cannot accept. It must be clear that Jerusalem is East Jerusalem according to 1967 lines.
East Jerusalem should be capital of Palestine.” Barghouti concluded, saying that compromises to the 1967 borders cannot be tolerated.
The issue of parameters has historically divided the various Palestinian factions was there is no consensus amongst the various parties of the final formula for resolving the conflict.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his closest aides have yet to respond to Kerry’s speech.