Erekat says Israel worse burden on US than Iran

Senior PA official calls for reexamination of peace negotiations and land transfer, estimates America will not cut aid to authority.

February 20, 2011 11:06
2 minute read.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat

Saeb Erekat 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)


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Senior Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat criticized the US for its veto of the UN Security Council settlement freeze resolution, saying that America's support of democratic change in the region stops at "the gates of Palestine," Israel Radio reported Sunday.

Erekat called for renewed examination of the Palestinian Authority and land transfers to Israelis. He commented that the Palestinian Authority has become inefficient in light of ongoing occupation by Israel of the West Bank, and that the Palestinian leadership should examine all pending issues, including negotiations, with Israel.

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Speaking about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Erekat said that he wields complete control, and that he is working solely to embed the occupation deeper.

The US government will not cut aid to the Palestinian Authority, he continued, because the US understands Netanyahu will be responsible for the Palestinian territories after the authority is dissolved.

According Erekat, the vote in the UN Friday over the settlement freeze showed the US how Israel has become a burden on American interests, and that more danger lies in supporting Netanyahu than Ahmadinejad in Iran.

Palestinian Public Works Minister Mohammad Shtayeh slammed America's veto of the UN resolution, saying "It will be hard for the Arab street to believe that America supports democracy after Obama's position was revealed by the US's veto [of a settlement freeze]. I don't think that the American threats to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority will be in beneficial to American or Israeli interests."

In an interview with Palestinian Arabic-language news daily Maan, Shtayeh also spoke about relations between Hamas and the West Bank authority, which have been bitter rivals since Hamas was elected to power in Gaza in 2006, saying that "A unity state could very well be achieved within the year. The invitation is serious and I hope that Hamas will not miss the chance."

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