Erekat gestures 248.88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday morning assessed that a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence would not succeed, as it would have little chance of winning the United Nation Security Council's approval.
Speaking at a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Lieberman warned the Palestinian Authority against such an initiative. A unilateral declaration would be a breach of the agreements the Authority signed with Israel, thus nullifying Israel's obligation to the same accords, Lieberman said, repeating similar sentiment worded by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday.
European Union special representative for the Middle East peace process, Marc Otte, also spoke out on Monday against unilateralism. In interviews with Arab media, Otte said that it is better to reach a solution through negotiations, and warned both sides against unilateral moves.
Palestinian officials have recently been threatening that they are prepared to ask the United Nations to endorse an independent state, without Israel's consent, because they are losing faith in the peace talks.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday, "God willing, we will soon have an independent state with its capital in Jerusalem."
Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians had decided to turn to the UN Security Council, deeply frustrated that 18 years of on-again, off-again negotiations with Israel had yielded little fruit. He said the PA also asked the EU on Monday to support their bid for nationhood.
"Now is our defining moment. We went into this peace process in order to achieve a two-state solution," he said. "The endgame is to tell the Israelis that now the international community has recognized the two-state solution on the '67 borders."
Netanyahu responded later on Sunday by warning that Israel might take unilateral steps if the Palestinians did not return to the negotiating table.
"There is no substitute for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and any unilateral attempts outside that framework will unravel the existing agreements between us and could entail unilateral steps by Israel," Netanyahu said.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.