Erekat: Annexation will cause PA collapse, is existential threat to Jordan . ( HE’S RIGHT, OF COURSE)

“They don’t need me to negotiate, they need me to surrender and I was not defeated.”

By Tovah Lazaroff, JPOST

Israeli annexation of the West Bank would cause the collapse of the Palestinian Authority and is an existential threat to Jordan, PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erekat charged in a briefing with the Left-wing group Peace Now.

“Once [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] moves to annexation, the PA is destroyed. It is going to collapse. I know it. It can not sustain the situation,” Erekat said.

He spoke with Peace Now through a web event the group hosted on Friday in the aftermath of Netanyahu’s pledge last week to bring the issue of annexation of West Bank settlements to his new government as soon as possible.

Erekat disparaged Netanyahu, but saved most of his anger for the Trump administration whose peace plan allows for Israel to apply sovereignty to 30% of the West Bank, where all the settlements are located.

US Secretary of State Mike “Pompeo is saying that he walks with Jesus to legalize settlements. And Jesus walks with him to legitimize annexation,” Erekat said.

The Trump administration officials are a “group of ideologues” who “couldn’t care less” about Israelis and Palestinians, Erekat charged. He added that US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who spearheaded the peace plan, was “arrogant” and “ignorant.”

The annexation the plan espouses would also destabilize Jordan, Erekat warned.

“King Abdullah of Jordan said very clearly, ‘if you do the annexation it’s an existential threat to Jordan.’ Who in their sane mind would threaten Jordan’s security and stability?” said Erekat. Jordanian stability is a “cardinal issue for Israelis, Palestinians, Egyptians, for everyone in the region,” he added.

Erekat dismissed the Trump administration’s call for the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state on 70% of the West Bank, with Israel retaining security control.

Erekat said that such IDF control was a de-facto form of annexation of the entire West Bank.

“When you have security sovereignty over every single inch of the West Bank, that is annexing the West Bank in its entirety,” Erekat said, adding that an apartheid situation would follow.

All the Trump plan allows, is for a Palestinian state “without any symbol of sovereignty. This will not fly. I will not be part of it,” Erekat said.

“They don’t need me to negotiate, they need me to surrender and I was not defeated.”

Netanyahu has already accepted the Trump plan. The PA has rejected it, insisting that a peace process can only moved forward based on the pre-1967 lines. It has rejected the Trump administration’s call to resume Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the basis of this plan.

Erekat said that Israel can not annex first and then negotiate with the Palestinians after, because annexation is a dictation of terms, so any talks afterwards would be superfluous.

“I am not going to go on my knee and sign my surrender to be under Israeli occupation and apartheid. That is what the whole thing is about. It is about establishing one state two systems, apartheid,” Erekat said.

Failure to create a Palestinian state on the basis of the pre-1967 lines is a show of bad faith toward the Palestinian leadership that recognized Israel’s right to exist and chose the path of non-violence, Erekat said.

In the future, Erekat said, he will be viewed example of a failed diplomat, because he made so many concessions for a two-state solution only to receive annexation.

“Books will be written about me, articles, studies to how how much I gave and ended up with this,” Erekat said bitterly.

“Do you think in the next 1,000 years there will be a Palestinian who will repeat what I did and sit with the Israelis?” he asked.

In 2017, Erekat said, he sat with the Trump administration 37 times but its officials never once spoke of two-states and rejected his push for direct talks with the Israelis based on past international agreements and understandings.

The US did not take the Palestinian position into account and instead simply copied Netanyahu’s ideas into its peace plan.

“I have known Netanyahu for 33 years,” said Erekat. He explained that the Israeli Prime Minister had three goals; a PA without authority, a cost free occupation and to separate Gaza from the West Bank.

“Hamas he will keep in Gaza, he will keep sending the money for them, supplying them and making agreement with them as he has been doing for the last four or five years,” Erekat said.

He pledged not to engage in a process that was solely led by the United States, but that he would only do so within an international context, such as the Quartet.

Erekat said he was taking this stand out of a commitment to a the two-state solution.

“I will never abandon the two-state solution because it is the only solution,” Erekat said.

May 24, 2020 | 1 Comment » | 423 views

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