Erekat says Netanyahu needs to prepare Israelis for withdrawal to '67 lines

Palestinians must realize they need to compromise for peace too, counters Israeli official.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat called on US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday to abide by international law in his proposals for peace between the Palestinians and Israel.
“We and the Arabs and Africans, Russians, United Nations and Europe request that Kerry’s proposals be based on international law and legitimacy,” Erekat told the Voice of Palestine radio station.
He said that the Palestinians still have not received any proposal from Kerry.
US Ambassador Dan Shapiro, meanwhile, told Israel Radio that Kerry was continuing to work on the framework document, and that the US hope was that it would be presented before the end of the nine-month negotiation period that started last July, and is set to expire at the end of April.
This framework will enable a continuation of the negotiations on all the core issues until a permanent agreement in reached, he said. “I don’t know exactly when it will be presented, but that is the goal.”
Shapiro said the framework will have to deal with all the core issues, which he defined as borders, security arrangements, refugees, Jerusalem, mutual recognition and the end of the conflict.
Erekat said that any proposals for solving the conflict should be based on a two-state solution on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, a full Israeli withdrawal, the return of Palestinian refugees and the release of prisoners held by Israel.
“We hope that any ideas presented by Kerry would not be outside the frame of international law and legitimacy,” he said.
Erekat pointed out that no Israeli official has recognized a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital or apologized to the refugees.
“This would mean achieving peace, which Israel does not want,” he said.
In a related development, PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef reiterated the Palestinians’ refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state.
Abu Yusef accused Kerry of endorsing the Israeli demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and of settlement blocs in the West Bank, and abolishing the right of return for Palestinian refugees. He also accused Kerry of endorsing Israel’s stance regarding security arrangements in the Jordan Valley.
The PLO official said that the Palestinians would reject Kerry’s proposals if they endorse the Israeli position.
The PLO has recommended that the Palestinian Authority leadership seek recognition by the UN and other international bodies as a way of achieving Palestinian rights, Abu Yusef said.
An Israeli official, meanwhile, said that if the Palestinians believe they can stick to all their hard-line positions, and only Israel has to do the compromising, then “they are deluding themselves if they think they will get an agreement.”
“While Israel is willing to be flexible, it has to be a two-way street,” he said.
“There will be no peace without recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, or the taking into consideration of Israel’s security concerns.”
The official said that over the years the Palestinians have “missed many opportunities for a peace agreement that would have led to a state. I hope we do not see a repeat of this behavior where the Palestinian leadership betrays the Palestinian people and says no to a fair compromise.”