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Erekat: We hope Israelis will vote for peace

PA negotiator says next leadership should endorse two-state solution; reiterates plan to seek UN resolution by year-end

Saeb Erekat (photo credit: Issan Rimawi/Flash90)
Saeb Erekat (photo credit: Issan Rimawi/Flash90)

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Tuesday he hoped Israelis would vote for peace in the coming general election, to be held on March 17, Israel Radio reported.

“I don’t care who is elected as long as they accept the two-state solution and agree to stop settlement construction,” Erekat said.

Speaking to foreign journalists near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Erekat said the Palestinian Authority would seek a UN resolution by year’s end that would set a timetable for Israel’s withdrawal from the Palestinian territory.

His remarks came after several European parliaments pressed their governments to recognize full Palestinian statehood.

“We are at the (UN) Security Council now, today. We are continuing our consultation. We want a Security Council resolution that will preserve the two-state solution,” Erekat said. “We want a specific time frame to end the occupation.

“We’re being helped a great deal in the Security Council by many nations,” he added, referring to recent votes of British, French and Spanish MPs in favor of recognizing Palestine as a state.

“We are hoping to achieve this resolution before the end of the month, before Christmas as a matter of fact.”

The Palestinians have been pressing Security Council members to adopt a resolution giving a timeframe — two years — for the withdrawal of Israel from the West Bank.

The United States has reiterated its opposition to what it sees as unilateral Palestinian measures that bypass peace talks with Israel.

But talks do not look set to resume, having collapsed in a round of recriminations in April despite a concerted diplomatic drive by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Erekat said the Palestinians hoped the US would not veto the resolution, but that if it did, “President (Mahmoud) Abbas will be signing immediately 22 conventions,” ensuring Palestinian membership of the International Criminal Court, through which it has threatened to sue Israel for alleged war crimes.

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