The Palestinian Authority announced on Saturday that it was studying the
possibility of asking the UN General Assembly and Security Council to recognize
a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
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The announcement followed
a meeting of Palestinian officials in Ramallah to discuss the status of the
peace process in light of the crisis surrounding Israel’s refusal to impose a
second moratorium on new construction in the West Bank
Palestinians have also taken issue with Israel’s
announcement on Thursday that it planned to build 238 new homes in two Jewish
neighborhoods in east Jerusalem “This announcement is a very clear-cut
indication that the choice of Mr.
Netanyahu is settlements, not peace,”
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Friday.
The PA has
insisted that all of such areas in the capital that are located over the
pre-1967 border must be part of a Palestinian state.
The PA announcement
comes as direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians appear to have
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas met twice in September for the first formal face-to-face
negotiations since such direct talks stopped in December 2008.
hoped to host both leaders for another round of talks this month, as part of a
larger meeting to prepare for a European Mediterranean meeting in Barcelona at
the end of November. Efforts are now under way to hold a meeting between
Netanyahu and Abbas at that time.
In the next few days, the Palestinian
leadership will study, in a more thorough and detailed manner, all the political
options available in the wake of the peace process’s obstruction and Israel’s
insistence on combining continued settlement construction with direct talks,
said a statement issued in Ramallah.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior PLO
official and close adviser to Abbas, said the political options included going
to the General Assembly and the Security Council.
“There are also other
political options that are being considered,” Abed Rabbo said without
“In the next few days, we will study all the political
options that are on the table.”
In response, an Israeli government
official said that “there is no substitute for direct talks” between the parties
and signing an agreement on a final-status solution.
often make threats to avoid direct talks with Israel, which have included
dismantling the PA or disavowing the two-state solution, he said.
these different avenues are dead ends that lead nowhere,” said the
“We see this as a way to apply pressure to the international
The official speculated that the PA is looking to avoid
negotiations because in its current political situation, it cannot show the
flexibility that is needed for direct negotiations.
But Abed Rabbo said
that participants in Saturday’s meeting reiterated their backing for Abbas’s
position regarding direct negotiations.
“The resumption of direct talks
requires a full cessation of all settlement activities, including those in
occupied Jerusalem,” Abed Rabbo said. “This is the only position that will make
the negotiations effective and viable.”
When asked about Palestinians
plans to turn to the UN, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said that his
government opposes unilateral steps oneither side.
“We continue to promote direct negotiations as the best way
to resolve the conflict and see the emergence of a Palestinian state that meets
the aspirations of the Palestinian people and security and stability for Israel
and the rest of the region.
“As we have said many, many times there are
critical issues involved in this process. They need to be negotiated between the
But he ducked the question as to what the US would do if the
matter was put to a vote at the UN.
“We are doing what we think is the
best way to end this conflict, and that is our position. As to how we will vote,
obviously, that’s a hypothetical question.”
The Palestinian leadership on
Saturday also expressed concern over US and international support for the
Israeli government’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish
state. On Monday in the Knesset, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that if
the Palestinians met this demand, he would impose a second moratorium on
Abed Rabbo told reporters on Saturday that “this
matter was already decided in 1993 when Israel and the PLO exchanged a document
of mutual recognition, and there’s no need to reopen the case.
of the conflict now is recognition of the borders of a Palestinian state and
accepting the June 4, 1967, line as the separating line between Israel and
Palestine. Israel and the international community need to endorse this
He said that to avoid “political contradiction,” Israel and
the international community must recognize a map that clearly defines the border
that would separate Palestine and Israel.
Salim Zanoun, chairman of the
Palestine National Council, the PLO’s parliament- in-exile, said over the
weekend that it was “impossible” for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a
Jewish state because that would jeopardize the right of return for Palestinian
refugees to their original homes inside Israel and threaten the status of
Israel’s Arab minority.
“The Palestinians have given all [of] what they
have for the sake of peace,” Zanoun said. “But we won’t give up our basic
national rights, first and foremost the establishment of an independent
Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital on all the territories occupied
in 1967 and the return of the refugees to their homes.
to recognize Israel as a Jewish state because we want to preserve the right of
return for those Palestinians who were forcibly expelled from their homes and
lands,” Zanoun said. “We also want to protect the rights of the Arab
Palestinians living in the territories that were occupied in 1948 and who are
facing a conspiracy by the racist, extremist Israeli government.”AP
contributed to this report.