Erekat: Jerusalem Can Be An Open City A Day After Peace
Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) executive committee Saeb Erekat said the two-state solution is the only option the Palestinian leadership is committed to.
Speaking at the left-wing Jews’ J Street National Conference in Washington, Erekat accused the US administration of saying “empty words” about peace.
“We are committed to a two-state solution not because the term is nice, but because this is the only option,” he noted.
“We are here to talk about meaningful peace, not the empty words we hear from the US peace team,” the chief Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator added.
He stressed that Palestinians do not view the current US administration as a partner for peace, reiterating that previous administrations supported a two-state solution.
“They wanted me to kneel on my knees. I will not do that. We (Palestinians) will not do that," Erekat stressed, adding that Palestinians will not give up making real and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
The PA boycotts the US administration due to the unilateral decisions, mainly relocating the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem and canceling all aid to the Palestinians.
Erekat explained that formulas that respect all parties’ interests and rights could be reached, including the complex issue of Jerusalem.
The senior Palestinian official put forward the solution that Palestinians think is the best regarding Jerusalem issue.
“Assigning East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” is the solution, he said, adding that the city can be open “one day after the peace is achieved.”
Erekat reiterated that Israeli settlements in the West Bank pose an obstacle to reach peace, adding that it is wrong to accuse those who oppose Netanyahu's policy of being anti-Semitism.
“The Palestinian leadership decided to hold elections in Palestine,” Erekat noted.
“We will participate in the elections, and we agreed with Hamas and all factions to be part of it since ballot boxes can decide.”
“Elections must be held in all areas, including East Jerusalem, and Israel must not prevent them from being held there. We have already held them three times in 1996, 2005 and 2006,” Erekat said.
“If Israel prevents these elections, it means it doesn’t want the authority led by Mahmoud Abbas, who is seeking peace, and doesn’t want democracy. Instead it wants a leadership that implements its plans,” he noted.