Palestinians hope Obama will push for statehood

PA official tells 'Post' Netanyahu wants to "turn the Palestinian issue into an economic problem."

May 17, 2009 19:39
1 minute read.
Palestinians hope Obama will push for statehood

Abed rabbo serious 224.88 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

The Palestinian Authority is hoping US President Barack Obama will exert pressure on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at their meeting Monday to accept the two-state solution and halt settlement construction in the West Bank, a PA official in Ramallah said on Sunday. The official said that the Palestinians would not return to the negotiating table as long as Netanyahu remained opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state. "Netanyahu wants to turn the Palestinian issue into an economic problem," the official told The Jerusalem Post. "He thinks that all that the Palestinians want is a better economy and that's a false assumption. We want a political solution, not an economic solution." The official pointed out that PA President Mahmoud Abbas had no plans to meet Netanyahu as long as the latter stuck to his position against the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Palestinians are disappointed that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah II rushed to meet with Netanyahu without demanding that he first accept the two-state solution and abide by all the agreements that were signed between the Palestinians and Israel, the official added. Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior PLO official and close associate of Abbas, launched a scathing attack on Netanyahu, accusing him of seeking to "derail" the peace process. "Netanyahu is not serious about the peace process," Abed Rabbo said. "We hope that the Obama administration would announce a one-year binding timetable for the establishment of a Palestinian state." Abed Rabbo said that the Palestinians were closely following the talks between Netanyahu and Obama to see if the peace process could be revived in the near future. "We're waiting to see how serious the Obama administration is in its intention to resume the peace talks," he said. "On the other hand, we are totally opposed to Netanyahu's conditions for resuming the peace process, and which include recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state." Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Obama was the only leader capable of forcing Netanyahu to stop settlement construction in the West Bank and accept the two-state solution. He said that there was no room for "ambiguity" when it comes to the peace process in the Middle East.

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