Saeb Erekat 311.
(photo credit: Mati Milstein)
Negotiations between the PA and Jerusalem have ended because the Palestinians
have no Israeli partner for peace, former chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb
Erekat said during a panel discussion by the Geneva Initiative on
Launched in 2003, the initiative proposes a settlement of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on a two-state solution and the division of
Jerusalem. It also calls for final borders largely based on the 1967 lines and a
compromise on the Palestinian right of return.
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“Do we have a partner to
make peace in Israel? We don’t,” Erekat said. “I believe negotiations between
Israelis and Palestinians are over.”
Erekat also directed criticism at
Israeli voters for halting negotiations.“You sacked the only guy who could
achieve peace,” he said, referring to Ehud Olmert, prime minister from 2006 to
Erekat said all of the solutions to ending the conflict have
already been determined and it merely takes “someone to stand up and make a
In regards to the declaration of a Palestinian state, Erekat
said, “Those who stand tall and recognize the state of Palestine on the 1967
lines are those who are advocating the two-state solution. Those who shy from it
are putting a big question mark on the twostate solution.”
discussion, titled, “The Road to September,” was held to discuss the expected
ramifications of the UN vote on Palestinian statehood in
Bernard Kouchner, former French foreign minister, and former
Meretz party leader Yossi Beilin, one of the founders of the Geneva Initiative,
spoke alongside Erekat on the panel.
Kouchner told the crowd that a
Palestinian state “is not an obstacle to security for Israel, rather a
condition” of such security, and said that Israelis’ “permanent, rational and
irrational” fear should not be a “permanent obstacle to peace.”
issued a blanket rebuke of Israeli fears of the popular revolutions that have
swept the Middle East in the past months, arguing that they were movements based
on the democratic values cherished in the West.
Speaking of the crowds in
Cairo’s Tahrir Square and elsewhere during the “Arab Spring,” Kouchner said,
“They weren’t attacking Israel or US policies, the people who were in the
streets of Tunis. They were screaming for democracy and the values of Europe;
democracy, rule of law, the rights of women. Are they enemies? They are
Kouchner, who also said the new Fatah-Hamas unity deal should not
pose a threat to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, told the crowd, “You
have to take this Arabian spring as an opportunity to go forward to an Israeli
Of the myriad security and diplomatic dangers facing Israel,
Kouchner said that diplomatic isolation is the most dire of all.
can’t remain isolated. This is the most dangerous thing: if you are not
moving or not forcing your government to move,” Kouchner said.
part, Beilin said Israel cannot expect the Palestinians to stand by and accept
the status quo. “It is impossible to expect the Palestinians will wait forever.
How long can they wait? Ten years? Twelve years? One hundred?”
Beilin said the
current Palestinian leadership can be expected to take diplomatic matters into
its own hands in the absence of Israeli movement.