(photo credit: AP)
The Palestinian Authority plans to ask the US to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders in the event that "Netanyahu and the Israelis decide to choose settlements over peace," Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said in an interview with Army Radio aired on Monday.
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"If the Americans can't do that," added Erekat, "we may turn to the UN Security Council."
Erekat stated that while the Security Council cannot legally declare a Palestinian state, its permanent members can call on other nations to individually recognize a Palestinian state.
The Palestinian negotiator said that a third option would be to turn to
the UN General Assembly, which does have the authority to recognize a
Erekat accused Israel of stripping the Palestinian Authority of its power in the West Bank.
"The Israelis took away all of our legal, economic, political and
security authority. Today they are inside of our cities, but if they
think they can exercise power without fulfilling obligations and
responsibilities that an occupying force has - they're wrong," said
Erekat. He added "I'm not saying they meant to dismantle the Palestinian
Authority, but in reality, they dismantled it."
Erekat said that the Palestinians made a mistake when they recognized
Israel during the Oslo peace process without any clarification as to
where the borders of Israel were.
"I think Israel is the only country in the region without defined
borders and they expand their borders through settlements and fences.
They think they can make peace when they put their border wherever they
want - and that's the big problem with the peace process."
Erekat said that he hoped Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Israeli people realize that peace is in their best interest.
"I hope and pray that the Israelis will understand that they are not
doing us a favor, but are doing themselves a favor," he stated.