Abbas: Israel’s ‘intransigence’ forcing us to the UN

Negotiations have ended, it’s time to take decisions, says Erekat; US continues to request that PA return to peace talks with Israel.

September 7, 2011 04:21
3 minute read.
Saeb Erekat

Erekat talking with hands in air 311. (photo credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday told Quartet representative Tony Blair the PA was being forced to go to the UN to ask for recognition of a Palestinian state because of Israeli “intransigence” and refusal to abide by signed agreements and UN resolutions.

Abbas also complained about Israel’s policy of continued construction in the settlements as another reason why the PA was determined to proceed with its statehood bid, a PA official said.

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Abbas said during the meeting with Blair that he was prepared to resume the peace talks if Israel accepted the 1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution and halted settlement construction, the official added.

Palestinian officials also complained on Tuesday that the US administration was threatening them to drop their statehood bid and return to the negotiating table with Israel.

The officials emphasized the PA would not succumb to the threats and would proceed with its plan.

They said Washington has yet to come up with new ideas that would lead to the resumption of the stalled peace talks.

The US is continuing to threaten the PA that it must abandon its plan to ask the UN Security council to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

“The official American position is: ‘Don’t go to the Security Council and return to negotiations with Israel,’” Erekat told PLO officials during a meeting in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

He said the Americans have not offered the Palestinians anything in return for abandoning the statehood bid. However, Erekat said the US has also made it clear Washington does not want a confrontation with the PA over this matter.

“Despite these threats, the Palestinians have informed the Americans that we will go to the Security Council to ask for full membership of a Palestinian state in line with Palestinian interests, and because this is not a unilateral act,” Erekat was quoted as saying.

He said that after the UN vote later this month, the state of Palestine will be under occupation and Israel will be held responsible – according to international agreements and conventions – fully responsible for health, education, security and other things. “The rest of the members of the UN would be obliged to help Palestine get rid of the occupation,” he explained.

Erekat pointed out that about 125 countries have already recognized the Palestinian state. He said the number was expected to rise to 150 during the vote at the UN General Assembly at the recommendation of the Security Council.

The Palestinians, he said, don’t want a confrontation with Israel or the US.

“We only want our rights, which we have waited for too long,” he said, accusing Israel of refusing to accept international “legitimacy.” The negotiations with Israel have ended and this is the time for taking decisions, he stressed.

Erekat said the PA would not backtrack on its decision to go to the UN “even if Israel came forward with proposals [for resuming the peace talks].”

Nimer Hammad, political advisor to Abbas, said on Tuesday the PA was prepared to drop its statehood initiative if the US and Israel accepted the Palestinians’ demands.

He said the two main demands are: a full cessation of settlement construction and recognition of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

Hammad said the PA leadership still does not know what proposals, if any, US envoys Dennis Ross and David Hale, are carrying with them.

The two emissaries are currently in the region in a last-minute bid to persuade the PA to abandon its plan and return to the negotiating table with Israel.

“If the two men are carrying positive ideas, we will study them,” Hammad said.

PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said the Palestinians were going to the UN later this month “in spite of the pressures and objections.”

He said he did not expect Ross and Hale to bring anything new.

“All indications are they are not carrying anything new to revive the peace process,” he claimed. “All we know is they are carrying threats, warnings and financial boycotts.”

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