A senior Palestinian Authority official said over the weekend the PA may
withdraw its recognition of Israel if the diplomatic process doesn’t yield
results, even as Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told Israelis there has been a
change in the Palestinian mindset and they are “fully committed to
Fayyad, in a Channel 2 interview taped last week at the
Saban Forum in Washington, expressed optimism about the prospects of a peace
agreement, saying, “It is possible to get this process to move forward as long
as there is a dialogue on the core issues.”
Fayyad said he was optimistic
that a Palestinian state could be established by August 2011.
past too much time was wasted on the process, but we should not be discouraged
because we have failed before, we should not give up,” he said.
whether the Palestinians would seek a UN Security Council resolution recognizing
a Palestinian state, Fayyad said, “We are looking for a state of Palestine, not
a unilateral declaration of statehood.”
Asked if the Palestinian people
would support a peace agreement, he said that “there has been a fundamental
change in the mindset of the Palestinians” and that they were “fully committed
“I think it’s time for the expectations to be set high,”
Fayyad said. “We have to believe that this can happen in order for it to
But Muhammad Shtayyeh, a member of the PA negotiating team and
the Fatah Central Committee, seemed to be reading from a different playbook
altogether, telling the London-based Asharq al- Awsat newspaper that the
Palestinians would no longer “distinguish between Haifa and Ramallah if Israeli
Shtayyeh, who is closely associated with PA
President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of avoiding the twostate solution ever
since the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991.
“The Palestinian leadership
made a historic concession in 1991 when it agreed to the establishment of a
Palestinian state on 22 percent of the historic lands of Palestine,” he said.
“This state was supposed to have been established in 1999, but the years are
passing by and Israel is avoiding this, which will force us to search for other
The PA official said that “if Israel does not want to stop
occupying the West Bank there will be nothing to prompt us to distinguishbetween Haifa and Ramallah.”
He added that Israel is mistaken if it
thinks that the PA would agree to be without authority.
municipalities and we will hand over the municipal powers to Israel if nothing
happens,” Shtayyeh said. “Let the occupation then provide services.”
paper quoted a senior PA official as also threatening to cancel all agreements
with Israel if the peace process fails.
The latest threats came as the PA
prepares to seek recognition from the UN Security Council for a Palestinian
state along the June 4, 1967, lines.
Shtayyeh said that in wake of the
Obama administration’s failure to persuade Israel to stop settlement
construction, the PA leadership was considering three options: seeking
unilateral recognition of the international community for a Palestinian state,
bringing Russia and the EU as sponsors of the peace process, and going to the
Shtayyeh said the US was no longer an honest broker
because of its “bias” in favor of Israel. US special envoy George Mitchell did
not achieve anything during his tour of the region last week, he said.
added that the Palestinians had reached the conclusion that the Israeli
government was not a “partner to peace.” This is a government that enjoys
settlements, he said.
Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat, meanwhile,
expressed sharp dissatisfaction on Friday over a resolution passed by the US
House of Representatives on Wednesday opposing any unilateral steps to create a
sovereign, independent Palestinian state, according to an AFP
“Through the passage of this resolution, the US Congress is
contradicting the policy of the American government to create a Palestinian
state, by hindering the ability of the Palestinians to navigate around the
Israeli government’s obstructionist policies,” Erekat was quoted as
“Recognizing the state of Palestine on the 1967 borders is a
sovereign, unilateral decision of individual states,” Erekat said. “While the
United States can choose to withhold recognition of our state, it cannot
obstruct other countries from exercising this sovereign right.”
Israeli government official said the recognition most needed now was Palestinian
acknowledgment of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
can be no peace without recognition,” the official said. “And just as Israel has
recognized the Palestinian right to a state and national self-determination, the
Palestinians must recognize the Jewish right to self-determination and a state
of our own.”
The official, spelling out Israel’s position on the
negotiations over core issues, said that while the issue of borders needed to be
negotiated, this was interrelated with other core issues.
“How can one
expect Israel to agree to where the final border will be without knowing what
the character of the Palestinian state on the other side of the border will be?”
the official asked. “Will that state be effectively demilitarized? Will it be
peace-loving and stop incitement? Will it recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish