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June 2012, Week 2

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Wed, 13 Jun 2012 23:19:05 -0400
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Palestinians' Bid for Full UN Recognition "Decisive"
Despite U.S. Threats: Erekat

Xinhua (China) 
June 12, 2012

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-06/12/c_131648309.htm

RAMALLAH

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on
Tuesday in an interview with Xinhua that the
Palestinian bid for the United Nations' full
recognition of an independent Palestinian state is
"decisive" despite threats and warnings from the United
States.

"This move will ensure substantial situation for the
Palestinians, which is a recognition of the borders of
their future independent Palestinian state established
on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, and
would stop Israel's claims that the occupied
territories are disputed lands," Erekat told Xinhua.

The Palestinian decision to demand a full UN
recognition was made after they lost hope that Israel
would freeze settlement activities in the West Bank and
East Jerusalem. Temporarily, they don't oppose the idea
of promoting their representation in the UN to an
observer state, which is more feasible.

"The decision to apply to the UN for a recognition has
been already taken by the executive committee of
Palestine Liberation Organization, and now the
Palestinian leadership started to implement it on the
ground," said Erekat, who is a PLO executive committee
member.

Last September, the Palestinians failed to gain a full
UN membership and dropped their request at the UN
Security Council. Their appeal didn't obtain support
from the majority of over nine Security Council state
members out of 15 total, as the United States
threatened to veto the appeal.

Erekat expressed hope that when the Palestinians apply
to the UN General Assembly for recognition this time,
"we would be able to win over at least 170 member
states out of 193 who fully support our demand," adding
that the membership of the state of Palestine in the UN
is a "natural right."

Earlier in June, the Arab League Committee to follow up
the peace process announced its full support to the
Palestinian decision to go to the UN General Assembly
for promoting their position to an observing member
state in the UN and all its organizations.

"The Palestinians and the Arabs are currently exerting
tremendous efforts on all levels and make contacts with
regional and international powers to succeed the
Palestinian bid," Erekat said, adding that "no date had
been set up yet for applying to the UN General
Assembly."

The veteran negotiator clarified that the Non-aligned
countries, the countries of the Islamic Organization as
well as the Organization of Latin American and African
countries "are all backing the Palestinian bid," adding
"intensive contacts are made with the European Union
countries in this respect."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who visited France
last week, had stated that the Palestinian and European
views concerning the stalled peace process are similar,
adding "I hope that our views will be similar in terms
of applying to the UN for the recognition."

"I don't want to say that all the European Union
countries are supporting our bid, but I just want to
remind when 11 member states in the UNESCO had voted
for our bid, while five opposed and 11 abstained," said
Erekat, adding "We hope that the number of those who
support us will increase."

Meanwhile, Erekat praised the Russian and Chinese
positions, adding that "the two countries are fully
supporting the Palestinian cause and rights." He
expected the United States will lead the biggest
opposition against the Palestinian bid, as "the U. S.
Congress threatened to cut off foreign aids to us."

"They also threatened to close down the office of the
PLO in Washington if we go to the UN for recognition,"
said Erekat. "Such threats are not going to obstruct
our determination, and such threats are totally
rejected by our leadership and by our people."

The decision to go for the UN bid reflects the
Palestinians' despair concerning the stalled peace
process with Israel, which is sponsored by the United
States. "If the United States really wants to keep
sponsoring the peace process and really wants the two-
state solution, it has to back the Palestinian bid in
the UN."

Erekat held Israel responsible for the collapse of
peace process, blaming it for the continued
construction of settlements. "Just this week, it
approved the building of 3,000 units. I think this is
an evidence that the current government in Israel had
given a sentence of failure to the peace process," the
Palestinian negotiator said.

However, Erekat said that the move to gain the UN
recognition " can never be an alternative to peace
negotiations with Israel, which is the obligatory pass
to the establishment of the Palestinian state." He
added that any opportunity to resume the talks with
Israel "is in Israel's hands only."

The Palestinians are seeking full Israeli cessation of
settlement activities on the territories occupied in
1967, including East Jerusalem in order to resume the
peace talks. They also want Israel to free all
prisoners in its jails and recognize an independent
Palestinian state.

Erekat said that "these aren't conditions to resume
peace talks, but Israeli commitments to implementing it
is necessary for resuming the peace talks." He
clarified that ties with Israel haven't been severed.

Meanwhile, Erekat reiterated that the Israeli plans of
carrying out unilateral withdrawal to prepare to
establish a Palestinian state with temporary borders on
55 percent of the Palestinian territories is rejected.
"We would never be part of such plans."

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