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Monday, July 11, 2011

'Negotiations,' 'Palestinian' style

With the Middle East 'quartet' (US, Russia, UN, EU) scheduled to meet on Monday in Washington former chief 'Palestinian' negotiator bottle washer Saeb Erekat has given the 'international community' their marching orders.
“We call on the Quartet to issue a statement urging Israel to freeze construction in the settlements and accept the 1967 lines as the borders of the Palestinian state,” said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

He said the PA has been in contact with representatives of the Quartet to explain to them the Palestinian position and urge them to issue the appeal to Israel.

“Intensified settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem is a basic pillar of the Israeli government’s policy,” Erekat said. “This proves that Israel is trying to prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.”

Erekat said that during his talks with US government officials in Washington last week he presented them with a document detailing all of the settlement activities since the beginning of this year.

The document reveals Israel has built thousands of housing units in various settlements in the West Bank, and in east Jerusalem, Erekat said.

He accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of “racing against time to prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state” by increasing construction in the settlements, including Jerusalem’s neighborhoods of Gilo, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Pisgat Ze’ev, the Mount of Olives, Givat Hamatos and Ras al-Amoud.

“These settlement activities are illegal and violate international law,” Erekat complained.

“They will also destroy any chance of implementing the two-state solution and US-led international efforts to revive the peace process.”

Erekat’s document is largely based on a report by Peace Now on settlement activities in the West Bank and Jewish housing in east Jerusalem.

“We hope that the Quartet meeting will come out with a serious statement that focuses on the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders and calls for an immediate cessation of settlement construction,” he said.

Erekat called on the US and EU to recognize a Palestinian state that would become the 194th UN member, after South Sudan.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is reported to be concerned about a surprise of the type President Obama threw at him in his May 19 speech.
A source in Jerusalem said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet colleagues have concerns that the Quartet announcement could provide a surprise for Israel similar to Obama's May speech, the contents of which were revised less than 24 hours before it was delivered.
And what type of surprise might Netanyahu fear?
Monday's meeting of Quartet foreign ministers and the UN secretary general comes after the European Union exerted intense pressure for the presentation of an international peace plan on the conflict. The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has argued such a peace proposal would constitute an alternative to the Palestinian push for recognition of an independent Palestinian state at the UN in September, and that it might convince the Palestinians to refrain from going forward with their plans.

In the past two weeks, France has put heavy pressure on Ashton and the other Quartet members for the group's statement to include an invitation to Israel and the Palestinians to resume negotiations based on Obama's remarks on the 1967 borders and on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

The U.S. is proposing a Quartet statement that mentions the Obama address in relatively general terms and announces that a Quartet delegation would visit the region for additional talks.
On the other hand, many Israelis would be surprised to hear the points to which Prime Minister Netanyahu has agreed.
Israeli sources have said Netanyahu has been somewhat more flexible in his stance regarding the principles expressed in Obama's address, saying that he would agree to base talks on the 1967 borders with land swaps. In exchange, he is seeking Obama administration ratification of President George W. Bush's letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon regarding Jewish West Bank settlement blocs coming under Israeli sovereignty and for Palestinian refugees to be resettled in a future Palestinian state.
So Obama has the chance to re-sell the same concession Bush sold to us seven years ago. What could go wrong?

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At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama won't reinstate the assurances of the Bush era. The Palestinians will issue demarches, demands, and diktats for a Judenrein Palestine with its Judenrein portion of Jerusalem to start off the de-Judaization of the remaining rump state of Israel. Pigs will not fly. The sun will not rise in the west.


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