Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must prepare Israel for tough sacrifices in order to achieve peace, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Wednesday morning in an interview with Army Radio.
“I haven’t heard any Israeli official from this government saying two states,” Erekat said in English. “I haven’t heard any leader in this government saying East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. I haven’t heard any Israeli saying we recognize the State of Palestine’s right to exist in peace and security… I want for the first time now, Mr. Prime Minister of Israel, to address his people, to tell his people, to prepare his people for what is needed, yes, and to say, 1-9-6-7” — a reference to the Palestinian demand for a final border along Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries.
Erekat also said that the PA would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. “The same thing as I have birth certificate and you have birth certificate, nations have birth certificates. Israel’s registered name at the UN is the State of Israel.”
The Palestinians have made major concessions in their official position in order to further peace, Erekat claimed, including accepting the “’67 [lines] with mutually agreed swaps. Secondly, we accepted a third-party force — Americans, Europeans, NATO — to be in our [border entry points], our airports, our skies, our harbors, to make sure we comply with agreements signed.”
“We said Jerusalem will be [an] open city,” he continued, “East Jerusalem capital of Palestine, West Jerusalem capital of Israel.”
Erekat also indicated that he had yet to see an official American proposal on a framework agreement.
“I hope, and pray, that this time John Kerry will go the path of what’s needed, not what’s possible…What Kerry needs to do is put on the table what’s needed.”
Kerry has been toiling over the past several months to formulate and propose a framework deal that both the PA and Israel will accept as a basis for continuing negotiations toward an end-of-the-year target for a final accord. The US diplomat has run into opposition from both sides over issues such as security arrangements and the Palestinian right of return, and has reportedly not obtained backing from US President Barack Obama to impose a “binding” deal on the sides. The Israelis have signaled a willingness to accept the deal with reservations, but grumblings from the PA camp suggest the Palestinian side opposes some elements of the developing framework.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.