Quartet succumbed to Israeli pressure, PA says

Erekat: Int'l community should support UN Palestinian state bid in light of Quartet failure to call for renewed peace negotiations.

Saeb Erekat 311 (photo credit: Mati Milstein)
Saeb Erekat 311
(photo credit: Mati Milstein)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday expressed disappointment over the failure of the Quartet representatives to issue a statement calling for the renewal of the Middle East peace process.
The PA was hoping that the Quartet members – the US, EU, UN and Russia – would call, following their meeting in Washington, for the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.
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The PA was also hoping that the Quartet would call for a complete cessation of settlement construction.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused the Quartet of succumbing to Israeli “pressure.”
He said that it was high time that the US administration stopped treating Israel as if it were a state above the law.
He added that the Israeli government alone bears full responsibility for the collapse of the peace process.
According to Erekat, the international community should now support the PA’s statehood bid in the wake of the failure of the Quartet to issue a statement on the peace process.
Abbas said that the failure of the Quartet to issue a statement was a “bad sign because it shows that there are differences between them.”
The PA president, who was speaking to reporters after meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, said that the PA wanted to see the Quartet members in agreement “so that we could go to our basic option, which is returning to the negotiations.”
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He added that the PA would return to the negotiating table once the Quartet agreed on the issues of settlements and the borders of a Palestinian state.
“If they don’t reach agreement, we will then go to the United Nations,” he said.
He expressed hope that the US would then refrain from using the veto to thwart such a move.
“We hope we will go to the United Nations in agreement with the Americans,” he said.
Abbas said that, as of now, the PA’s position remains that it will go to the UN in September to ask for recognition of a state on the pre-1967 lines “if efforts to resume the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations fail.”
The path of negotiations is facing many difficulties because of Israel’s refusal to accept the signed agreements and creating new illegal facts on the ground, the PA president said.
“These actions threaten and discredit the peace process,” Abbas charged. “Therefore we are looking forward to the entire international community to assume its role in pushing the peace process forward by emphasizing the need to abide by the two-state solution and rejecting Israel’s settlement policy.”
He said that in the end the Palestinians would triumph “because ours is a just cause and we will enjoy stability and prosperity in an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
The PA government, meanwhile, announced on Tuesday that the Palestinians were ready for statehood more than ever.
The government expressed hope that the international community was ready to “fulfill its duty and end occupation so that the Palestinians would be able to establish an independent state along the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.”
Following its weekly meeting in Ramallah, the PA government urged the international community to force Israel to honor international law, especially with regards to halting settlement expansion and settler “assaults.”