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Erekat: UN vote on Palestinian statehood by Monday

Top PA official, in interview with Arab media, makes extreme comparison between Islamic State’s al-Baghdadi and Netanyahu

Saeb Erekat speaks during a news conference in Ramallah in the West Bank on January 2, 2012. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/ FLASH90)
Saeb Erekat speaks during a news conference in Ramallah in the West Bank on January 2, 2012. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/ FLASH90)

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said Friday that the Palestinian Authority will push the United Nations Security Council for a vote on the Palestinians’ statehood bid by Monday next week at the latest.

The bid calls for the recognition of a Palestinian state and an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines by 2017. The draft resolution sets a 12-month deadline for wrapping up negotiations on a final settlement. A final peace deal would pave the way to the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as a shared capital, according to the text.

Erekat indicated that some revisions were made to the Jordanian-drafted text but it is not yet clear what items appeared on the finalized version, Israel Radio reported. The document has not been made public yet.

As of last week, France, working with Britain and Germany, was pressing on with a separate text on reviving the peace process, but it was unclear when that effort would yield results or if the Jordanian bid incorporated elements from the trio’s draft.

The Palestinian Authority has refused to postpone the vote until after Israel’s March 17 elections, despite international pressure. Recent reports indicated that Kerry had been pushing for the Palestinians to delay the vote, worrying that it could strengthen the Israeli right wing ahead of election day.

Earlier this week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned that his administration would “no longer deal” with Israel if the United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a final peace deal fails.

Meanwhile, during an interview with al-Arabiya on Friday, Erekat made a fantastical comparison between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leader of the brutal jihadist group the Islamic State which conquered large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria — by pillaging villages, killing, raping and enslaving thousands of people and imposing a radical version of Islam on its subjects.

“We are witnessing a war against Daesh,” said Erekat, using the Arab acronym of the group’s name, “and this is a just war. But just like Abu Bakr al Baghdadi considers himself the leader of the ‘Islamic State,’ Benjamin Netanyahu heads the ‘Jewish State,'” he charged during the interview, a portion of which was aired on Channel 2 Friday evening.

“There is no difference between the crime of laying an American or Western journalist on the ground and beheading him [as IS has done with several journalists and aid workers since September] and between a criminal who lays Muhammad Abu Khdeir on the ground and burns him alive,” he said in reference to the murder of a Palestinian teenager from east Jerusalem this summer at the hands of Jewish terrorists who carried out the killing as an act of revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June.

Tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank escalated significantly following the murders of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, climaxing in the 50-day conflict in July and August between Israel and Hamas in and around the Gaza Strip.

Operation Protective Edge was followed by nearly daily riots and a spate of Palestinian terror attacks in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the West Bank which claimed the lives of a dozen Israelis since October.

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