BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday sent an envoy to Iran in an attempt to improve bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic.
JERICHO (Ma’an) — The PLO’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, on Thursday issued a 56-page report on Palestinian-Israeli relations, calling for a comprehensive review of the current status quo.
RAMALLAH, May 26, 2015 (WAFA) – Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Tuesday slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to discuss the borders of settlement blocs as an attempt to legitimize illegal settlement construction and expansion in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
“The recent comment by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the ‘two-state solution’ is nothing new. It’s a request to continue illegal settlement construction with Palestinian consent,” Erekat said in a press release.
“This looks like one state and two systems rather than two sovereign and democratic states,” he added. Erekat stressed that if Netanyahu wants to have meaningful negotiations, which would result in ending the occupation that began in 1967, he should recognize a Palestinian State on the 1967 border and honor Israel’s obligations including halting settlement construction and releasing Palestinian political prisoners.
Last week, Netanyahu told the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, that he wants to resume talks with the Palestinians, that are aimed at reaching an understanding on the borders of settlement blocs that Israel would annex under any peace agreement.
According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, an Israeli source briefed on Netanyahu’s meeting with Federica Mogherini last Wednesday said Netanyahu explained that in this way, Israel can get to know what parts of the West Bank Israel could continue building in.
To be noted, settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem are illegal under international law.
The settler population in the West Bank is estimated at 531,000: in late 2012 the population of the West Bank settlements was 341,400; in late 2011 there were 190,423 individuals living in Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
Israel has been approving the building of new housing units in settlements located in the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem, despite of international condemnations.
The Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice have all confirmed that the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and other settlement-related activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are illegal under international law.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was previously quoted by media as stating that, “We will continue to build in Jerusalem. We will add thousands of residential units and withstand all the [international] pressure, as we continue to develop our eternal capital.”
RAMALLAH, May 21, 2015 (WAFA) – Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat Wednesday said it was clear that the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is heading towards more racism and extremism with regards to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Erekat’s statement came following a meeting with the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, in Ramallah on Wednesday.
“It is clear through Netanyahu’s actions, comments, and remarks that Israel has paved a new wave of racist and extremist policies and is not a partner for peace,’ said Erekat.
Netanyahu informed Mogherinib of his support to a two state solution for two people, despite his last-minute rejection of the creation of a Palestinian state in an appeal to the right during the most recent election campaign as well as the ongoing approval of new illegal settlements and outposts.
“The new Israeli cabinet has shown its commitment to consolidate an Apartheid regime in occupied Palestine as well as to continue its incitement campaign against Palestinians, sending the message that Palestinian lives, history and culture don’t matter.”
Mogherini’s visit came on the heels of Israel’s announcement of further settlement construction in Beit Sahour through the construction of 90 units for the benefit of Har Homa illegal settlement as well as settlement activities in and around Occupied East Jerusalem, including the Ramat Shlomo settlement.
The move was in direct contravention of international law and Israel’s obligations under previous agreements, as well as an obstacle ahead of the international community’s commitment to facilitate peace.
A statement by the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department said Netanyahu brazenly expressed his disregard for the international community’s peace efforts by openly presenting Israel’s duplicity in the face of peace.
“While Netanyahu made his extremist, right-wing government’s position clear they have no desire for peace with the Palestinian people, the international community has become increasingly vague in regard to its position on the new Israel,” the statement said.
Erakat added, ‘The international community has allowed Israel to stall the prospects of a just and lasting peace for too long and has a responsibility to face Netanyahu’s hypocrisy head on, and not at the expense of the Palestinian people.
“We call on the international community to do nothing more than demand Israel fulfill its obligations under international law.’
Mogherini’s visit to Israel and Palestine was an attempt to prompt adherence to the two-State Solution and to ask both sides to fulfill their commitments to previous rounds of negotiations and agreements, including halting Israeli settlement expansion.
The Palestinian foreign minister, Riyad Al-Maliki on Monday said that he asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to set a date for submitting the case files pertaining to the settlements and war crimes lawsuits against Israel to the court.
“I filed a request two days ago to the ICC to set a date so we can submit the case files of the settlements and Israel’s war crime lawsuits,” al-Maliki told Palestinian radio, according to videonews.us.
“We’re waiting for a date to be scheduled, and it might be in the middle of next month,” al-Maliki said, adding that he “will head to The Hague for this [submitting the case files] once a date is set”.
On April 1st, Palestine officially joined the ICC after The Hague-based tribunal approved its accession bid.
In January, Palestinians formally delivered the UN papers ratifying the Rome Statute – the legal document establishing the court – with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acting as “depository.”
The move came after an Arab draft resolution at the UN General Assembly seeking a deadline for ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories failed to win the nine votes needed to pass.
Shortly later, Abbas applied for Palestinian membership in 18 international treaties, including the Rome Statute.
The ICC was established in 1998 as a court of last resort to prosecute the most heinous offenses – such as war crimes and crimes against humanity – in cases where national court systems had failed.
Wasal Abu Yousef, a member of the PLO leadership, said Thursday that Palestinians would not return to the negotiation table with Israel unless a deadline for the end of the Israeli “occupation” is set, London-based newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported.
He also said that, should negotiations resume, Palestinians would not rely solely on American mediation due to their “bias” towards Israel.
“Bilateral negotiations under US auspices are no longer possible,” he said.
Yousef told the London daily that the decision to refrain from returning to negotiations stemmed from the results of Israel’s latest elections and government formation, which brought to power an even more right-wing government than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last coalition.
“We believe that the political horizon is completely closed with this new settler government,” Yousef told Al-Sharq Al-Aswat