Recognition of unilaterally declared Palestinian statehood at the UN General
Assembly in September could irreparably harm the peace process, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to tell the EU’s foreign policy chief when they
meet in Jerusalem on Sunday, according to Israeli officials.
German FM: Unilateral moves 'very counterproductive'
US waiting for Israeli response on negotiating framework
Obama, Merkel call on Palestinians to avoid UN state bid
Catherine Ashton arrived in the region on Thursday in an effort to thwart the Palestinian
unilateral statehood bid by finding a way to bring the Palestinians back to the
negotiating table with the Israelis.
Although the EU has not said how it
would vote on such a resolution, it has said that it prefers a negotiated
In conjunction with Ashton’s visit, acting US Middle East envoy
David Hale, and Dennis Ross – a top White House adviser on the Middle East – are
in the region on a similar mission.
On Monday, Ashton will report on her
visit to a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg. On Friday,
Quartet envoys will meet on the matter in Brussels.
Palestinian officials reiterated over the weekend, however, the same entrenched
positions, which to date have made talks impossible.
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In a meeting with
Ashton in Ramallah on Friday
, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
urged the EU to recognize a Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967 lines, with
east Jerusalem as its capital.
PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erekat
said Ashton replied that the EU’s top priority remained the resumption of the
peace process. She also said that the PA demand would be discussed “inside the
corridors of the EU.”
The Palestinians did not hear from Ashton that
she’s opposed to the UN move, Erekat added. “But we also didn’t hear from her
that she supports the step. At least the dialogue remains open on this
During the meeting, Abbas once again expressed willingness to return to the negotiating table with Israel,
if Netanyahu accepted the two-state solution and agreed to halt construction in
West Bank settlements and in east Jerusalem, Erekat said.
rejected the conditions about construction. It has consistently called on the PA
to return to negotiations without conditions.
In an interview with France
24 on Friday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said there was no real way to announce
an end to all Jewish construction in the West Bank and east
“There are half a million people living there. They need a new
kindergarten every week. They need for natural growth many items,” he
The Palestinian and Israeli borders in the West Bank should be
determined through negotiations, and once that agreement is finalized, the
Palestinians will receive any buildings built by Israel that fall within the
boundaries of their new state, Barak said.
“I do not believe either
borders or security, if [talks] are taken seriously by both sides, should be
insurmountable,” Barak said.
He said there was a fifty-fifty chance that
negotiations would be resumed.
An Israeli official added that a
unilateral declaration of statehood would make it hard to move forward on the
“A one-sided resolution could cement a maximalist
Palestinian position, thereby making a negotiated solution all but impossible,”
the official said.
He added that if the UN was to recognize a Palestinian
state along the pre-1967 lines, then the Palestinians would not accept anything
less as the borders of their state.
“For there to be peace, there has to
be a change to that [pre- 1967] border,” the official said.
meeting with Ashton on Friday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that
unilateral statehood would bring an end to the Oslo Accords.
“A move like
that will be a violation of all the agreements that were signed until today,”
Lieberman said in a statement. “Israel will no longer be committed to the
agreements signed with the Palestinians over the past 18 years.”
light of Abbas’s current stance, the chances for negotiations are zero. Abbas is
not interested in an agreement,” the foreign minister added. “He wants conflict,
because that is his personal interest, even though it is against the
Palestinians’ interest, and many oppose him.
“Israel is prepared to renew
negotiations. The ball is in the Palestinians’ court,” Lieberman
Erekat said on Friday that the Palestinians were still intent
on pursuing statehood at the UN. They have embassies in six EU countries,
which is the equivalent of recognition of statehood, he said.
Palestinian embassies in these countries,” Erekat said. “We are hoping that the
remaining 21 countries would recognize the independent Palestinian state so as
to solidify and preserve the twostate solution.
“This step is not aimed
at isolating Israel,” Erekat stressed. “It’s aimed at consolidating the
principle of the two-state solution and to say that the 1967 borders are the
borders of the Palestinian state, and that east Jerusalem is its capital, so
that this state can live in security and peace alongside Israel.”
said that the international community should help the Palestinians in their
statehood bid “because Netanyahu is not a partner to any peace process.” He
accused Netanyahu of trying to impose his dictates on the Palestinians and of
pursuing a policy of assassinations and invasions and creating facts on the
Ashton’s spokesperson told the media on Friday that “the high
representative has come to Israel to encourage the parties to get back to the
negotiating table. We are well aware that September is fast
“With the events of the Arab Spring and following President
Obama’s speech, it is more urgent than ever to engage in meaningful negotiations
and move the Peace Process forward,” the spokesperson said in a
The spokesperson added that Ashton had proposed a new meeting
of the Quartet principals, which she hoped would happen soon.
said in the letter, what is needed is a clear reference framework to allow both
sides to return to the negotiating table,” the spokesperson said.
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