PA official warns of consequences if US vetoes UN bid

Saeb Erekat says ‘occupied Palestinian state’ will dismantle PA and revert to PLO, join hundreds of international bodies

Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90/File)
Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90/File)

Top Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat has threatened that if the US vetoes the PA’s bid to gain a United Nations-backed timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, the Palestinians would apply for membership in hundreds of international bodies as citizens of an occupied state in its own right.

Erekat wrote in a position paper released Tuesday that the Palestinians would seek to join some 522 organizations, protocols, and treaties, a move aimed at gaining further recognition for a Palestinian state.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas, as the leader of “the occupied Palestinian state,” would then demand that Israel fulfill all its obligations as an occupying power, Erekat added, hinting that the PA itself would cease to function as an administrative body, leaving Israel to pick up the slack.

Erekat predicted that as a result, the Palestine Liberation Organization would remain the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

“The occupied state of Palestine will continue to be a member of various international and regional organizations,” he noted.

Elections would also be held for the Palestinian presidency and National Council but during the interim period the PLO would effectively seize power.

“Before the elections there will be elections for the PLO’s executive committee with the participation of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and the executive committee will become the temporary government for the occupied Palestinian state and the National Council will be considered the parliament of the Palestinian people,” he said.

Since the collapse of US-led peace talks with Israel in April, the Palestinians have been pursuing a new diplomatic path to independence through the United Nations and other international organizations and treaties.

The Palestinians won the status of nonmember observer state in the UN in 2012.

Israel has voiced vehement opposition to the Palestinian Authority’s bid to seek international recognition independently of peace talks, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning this week that unilateral moves would “bring about a further deterioration in the situation – something none of us want.”

On Tuesday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also warned Israel and the Palestinians against taking unilateral steps. Ban challenged the leaders to rise to the occasion and display the “courage and vision” needed to overcome their differences and negotiate a comprehensive peace agreement that leads to the establishment of a viable and independent Palestinian state.

Palestinian statehood was given a boost this month after both Sweden and Britain made symbolic moves toward recognizing the state.

During his inaugural speech on October 3 Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said that his country would recognize the Palestinian state, although no formal date for the move has been set. Two weeks later the British parliament held a symbolic vote in favor of recognizing Palestine.

News agencies contributed to this report.

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