Erekat: UN resolution will set terms for talks with Israel

Chief Palestinian negotiator says resolution seeks two-state solution on 1967 lines, does not "cancel" peace process.

Erekat521 (photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
(photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
The Palestinian Authority plans to ask the United Nations to set the territorial terms for a negotiated two-state solution along the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital, its chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Thursday.
He spoke with reporters in his Jericho office, in advance of the opening of the PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ September 27 speech before the opening session of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, which began this week in New York.
The Palestinians plan to ask the UN’s 193 nations to upgrade their status from observer to non-member state, a move that increases their rights before that international body.
The PA, he said, hoped to garner the support of 150 or 170 UN nations for their proposal.
“The national interest of Palestinians leaves us with no choice but to take Palestine to the UN as a non member state,” he said.
Passage of such a General Assembly resolution would be considered a de-facto recognition of statehood. It can not be vetoed.
Only the Security Council can grant membership rights and full nation status at the UN.
In the past the US has promised to veto the Palestinians' bid for unilateral statehood at the Security Council. The issue became moot when the Palestinians last year failed to gain the necessary support for that statehood bid from nine of the 15 Security Council members.
Erekat on Thursday said that the Palestinian membership bid still stands before the Security Council, but at present they still lack those nine votes.
“Recognition of the state of Palestine does not require the UN. It is the sovereign decision of nation [based on] their sovereign discretion,” Erekat said.
Still, the Palestinians plan to use the forum of the General Assembly to propose a resolution for non-member statehood, which would also make a statement in support of a two state solution at the pre-1967 line, Erekat said.
“The occupied territories are not disputed territories,” he said. There is wide consensus among the nations of the world that the border of both states is at the pre-1967 line, Erekat said.
“When the Palestinians gain recognition, Israel can not argue that these are disputed territories,” he said.
Once Abbas delivers his address on September 27, the Palestinians begin geo-political discussions with UN nations to solicit support for their resolution for non-member state status, Erekat said.
“We want Palestine back on the map with the 67 line and east Jerusalem as its capital,” Erekat said.
But already on Thursday morning, Erekat said, he had met with European Union representatives in the region on this issue.
He added that he hoped as many EU countries as possible would support them, as well as the US and even Israel.
This step, he said, is part of the pursuit of a two state solution and there is no reason why anyone should oppose it.
He rejected any attempts to characterize their efforts at the UN as unilateral steps.
“We never said our right to self determination is subject to negotiation,” he said.
When it comes to a two state solution, he said, the PA is focusing its efforts on the UN, as the first and best step.
Once Palestine is recognized as a non-member state, he said, the rest of the process will fall into place.
Once there is an accepted resolution defining the two state solution along the pre-1967 line, negotiations with Israel can center on staged steps for withdrawal, Erekat said.