BY KHALED ABU TOAMEH, JPOST—
The Palestinian Authority will abandon its plan to ask the UN in September to recognize a Palestinian state along pre-1967 lines if 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 advisor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday.
Nimer Hammad, political advisor to Abbas, said that 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 two-state 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 said that 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 two-state solution and stop settlement construction.”
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 Administration has also made it clear that it plans to thwart the PA move by vetoing it at the UN.