By KHALED ABU TOAMEH AND HERB KEINON
Abbas advisor says if Quartet calls on Israel to withdraw from '67 territories, halt settlement construction, PA will abandon September plan.
The Palestinian Authority will abandon its plan to ask the UN in September to recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines if the Quartet members – the US, EU, UN and Russia – recognize the two-state principle as the basis for a settlement and call on Israel to withdraw from the territories captured in 1967, including east Jerusalem, an adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday.
Nimer Hammad, political adviser to Abbas, said the Quartet should also call for a full cessation of construction in Jewish settlements and set a clear timetable for Israeli- Palestinian peace talks.
The Quartet representatives are scheduled to meet on July 11 to discuss the latest developments surrounding the Middle East peace process in wake of the PA’s intention to go to the UN in September.
“The Palestinian Authority is determined to proceed with its plan to go to the UN Security Council if Israel continues to deny the rights of the Palestinians and international legitimacy,” Hammad said.
“We are continuing with preparations in the legal and international arenas for the September battle. But if the Quartet endorses the twostate solution and demands a freeze of settlement construction, we will change our mind.”
PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Monday that the Palestinians would return to the negotiating table with Israel once Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declares his acceptance of the two-state solution on the basis of the pre-1967 lines and halts construction not only in the West Bank, but also in east Jerusalem.
Erekat is scheduled to visit Washington later this week for talks with US administration officials on the statehood bid and ways of resuming the stalled peace process with Israel. He will be accompanied by Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh.
Erekat admitted that the US was exerting heavy pressure on the PA leadership to stop it from going to the UN in September. The US has also made it clear that it plans to thwart the PA move by vetoing it at the UN.
Erekat said the Palestinian stance toward the peace process was not a pre-condition.
“This is an Israeli obligation,” he said. “We hope that the Americans and the Quartet will oblige Netanyahu to accept the twostate solution and stop settlement construction.”
Israel has rejected these demands in the past, and Netanyahu, in private meetings on Monday, made clear that his position on these matters has not changed.
“If a one-sided anti-Israel resolution goes through, it will set back peace for decades,” Netanyahu warned. “The Palestinians have systematically avoided negotiations."
He added, “Nothing we do might prevent them [the Palestinians] from going forward with this.”
Netanyahu said that American- led diplomatic efforts now are concentrating on offering a “competing vision” of the principles for restarting the negotiations that will talk about two states for two peoples, and the need for the future borders to be negotiated.
The prime minister said that when the international community focused on borders and settlements they were inadvertently accepting a Palestinian demand for a state, and not dealing with how to end the conflict. To end the conflict, he said, the issue of refugees and Israel as a Jewish state had to be addressed, or else the conflict would not end.
To me, the story is confusing. The article states that the PA will abandon its plan for UN involvement if the Quartet members recognize a two-state solution, and call on Israel to withdraw to 1967 boarders. However, the title of the article indicates that Israel must accept the 1967 lines before the PA abandons its plan.
Which is it? Calling on Israel to withdraw...and Israel accepting the request...are two entirely different situations. Netanyahu has made it perfectly clear on numerous occasions that withdrawl to the 1967 boarders is simply not going to happen. Why is that so difficult for the PA, the Quartet, the UN, and most of the world to understand?