Erekat rejects Netanyahu’s peace statement as ‘PR strategy’

May 31, 2016  

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat on Tuesday rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s statement in favor of peace talks and the two-state solution.

Erekat said that the realization of the two-state solution requires an explicit and clear recognition of the pre-1967 borders by Israel, the WAFA news agency reported.

He described the joint Netanyahu-Liberman statement as a “new public relations strategy promoted by the occupying government to shield Israel from having to adhere to the will of the international community and distract from its continued settler-colonial policies and rejectionist positions.”

“We are used to Netanyahu and his government’s inconsistencies and contradictions between words and actions,” Erekat charged, according to WAFA.

“Peace must translate words into action by, first and foremost by ending the manufacture of facts on the ground, the cessation of settlement, ending the Judaization of Jerusalem, stopping extrajudicial executions, halting all demolition of homes, releasing the detention of  bodies, lifting the siege, recognition of the 1967 borders, and to respect and implement the signed agreements,” he added.

Erekat also warned against taking the Arab initiative out of context and stressed that the Palestinian position toward the Arab initiative is defined and clear.

“This is a critical juncture in our history and we hope that the international community commits to ending the injustices committed against Palestine by recognizing the importance of such pursuits as the Arab Peace Initiative and upcoming French conference within a defined framework and timeline, guided by international law and UN principles,” he added.

In their statement Monday, Netanyahu and Liberman said they were ready “to negotiate with the Arab countries on updating the Arab peace initiative, to reflect the dramatic changes since 2002, and to maintain the agreed goal of two states for two peoples.”

The Saudi peace initiative, unveiled in 2002 and re-endorsed at the 2007 Arab League summit, says that 22 Arab countries will normalize ties with Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.

Israel to date has rejected the plan due to the fact that it calls for Israel to accept the so-called “right of return” for millions of descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel, effectively bringing an end to the Jewish state.

Recent reports, however, have indicated that Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Jordan and Egypt, are prepared to discuss with Israel changes to the Saudi peace initiative in order to resume peace talks between Israel and the PA.

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