PLO warns of 'unprecedented' threat to two states

Prime minister’s spokesman: Impasse in peace process a result of Palestinian decision to boycott negotiations.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas 390 (R) (photo credit: Jason Reed / Reuters)
Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas 390 (R)
(photo credit: Jason Reed / Reuters)
PLO leadership warned Tuesday that Israeli policies in Jerusalem and the West Bank posed an unprecedented and serious short-term threat to the two-state solution.
The warning was issued following a lengthy meeting of the PLO Executive Committee, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah.
The PLO said that Israel’s policy of “Judaizing” Jerusalem and “ethnic cleansing” in the West Bank “paved the way for the possibility of the establishment of one racist state where Israel would retain its occupation of Palestinian lands and prevent the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.”
The talk about resuming peace negotiations was aimed at “covering up for Israeli practices,” the PLO said, and called on the UN to grant a Palestinian state the status of non-member during the upcoming session of the General Assembly.
Abbas would consult with Arab countries about the statehood bid at the UN during a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers later this week, the group’s leadership added.
Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, responded by saying that the “reason for the impasse in the peace process is the Palestinian decision to boycott peace negotiations.”
Regev said the Palestinians have consistently refused to negotiate with the Netanyahu government and have therefore created a situation where there has been no substantive progress for months.
Regev said Israel was “concerned about some of the extremist language used by Palestinian officials. Their refusal to acknowledge a Jewish connection to Jerusalem, which is to ignore 3,000 years of history, would seem to be more appropriate coming from extremist elements, rather than people who profess to be committed to peace.”
PA officials had originally announced that Abbas would submit a request for membership in the UN during the General Assembly session in New York at the end of this month.
However, following American pressure, Abbas has decided to delay the move until after the US presidential election.
PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo told reporters after the meeting that the Palestinians have decided to present a request for membership in the UN later this month. He said the Palestinians were hoping that the UN would grant them observer status, which would allow the PA to be included in UN activities but not vote or propose resolutions.
Abed Rabbo said that the PA would coordinate its move with Arab countries, the EU and members of the Non-Aligned Movement. He acknowledged that the PA leadership was facing pressure to abandon the statehood bid.
“There is always pressure when there is diplomatic activity,” Abed Rabbo said. “There are some parties that don’t want us to go to the UN. But there are also others who support us and are pushing us to go to the UN.”
The PLO official said that Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s campaign against Abbas was aimed at thwarting the new statehood bid. Abed Rabbo accused the Israeli government of endorsing Liberman’s campaign which, he said, was escalating tensions in the region.
Regarding the criticism of Liberman, one government official said the PA, which has said continually that the current government is an “obstacle to peace,” has no right to criticize the foreign minister for using the same words against Abbas.