Erekat Denies That He’ll Ask UN to Recognize Palestinian State Next Month


saeb-erekatThe Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat denied Wednesday he had claimed the PA would ask the United Nations Security Council to recognize an independent Palestinian state as early as January, saying that he had been misquoted.The Palestinians will indeed submit a proposal for a Security Council resolution, but one calling to halt Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, Erekat clarified.

“I completely deny what was published that we will go to the Security Council to get international recognition for a Palestinian state,” Erekat said.

Earlier reports stated that Erekat told reporters in the West Bank town of Jericho of a Palestinian plan to submit the proposal to the Security Council by early January, demanding recognition of an independent Palestinian state in the territories seized by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Since short-lived direct peace talks with Israel collapsed on October 2 – one month after they were launched in Washington – the Palestinians have warned repeatedly that they would move to “other diplomatic options,” unless Israel accepted their precondition of a full settlement freeze to allow the direct talks to resume.

“The Israeli government is witnessing an international isolation that it hasn’t witnessed before,” said Erekat. “And this is due to the efforts exerted by the Palestinian leadership and by President Mahmoud Abbas.”

Also Wednesday, Palestinian negotiator Nabil Sha’ath said that President Abbas is to head to South America to attend the inauguration of Brazil’s new president on January 1.

Shaath told Voice of Palestine that on the sidelines of the ceremony, Abbas would talk with European and Latin American prime ministers and presidents, to garner support for the Security Council move.

“These talks will be an opportunity to earn a wider international support for recognizing the independent Palestinian state established on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital,” said Shaath.

He expected that all Latin American countries would finally recognize the Palestinian state. Three Latin American countries, Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, already recognized an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 late this year.