AMMAN: Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said that President Mahmoud Abbas has informed Israel and the Americans of the decision to annul all agreements with them.
Speaking to a select group of journalists answered a question by Arab News about Moscow’s latest imitative by saying that Palestine will happily attend an international conference arranged by Russia. “We have been in contact for some time with the quartet which includes Russia and we have been discussing the possibility of a quartet plus meeting that could include Saudi Arabia, UAE, China, and others.”
Erekat said that Palestinians are proud of their relations with the Russians and “we will attend any meeting that they organize on the terms of reference of what has been agreed to.” Erekat revealed that the idea of an international conference was also discussed with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who called President Abbas Wednesday.
Responding to repeated questions about security coordination, Erekat said that the last time former Palestinian President Arafat suspended security coordination, Ariel Sharon brought in the tanks to Ramallah. But Erekat didn’t appear worried saying “we are on our land and we are not going anywhere.”
In reply to a question by Arab News Erekat said that Palestinians had accepted a request by the former US President Barak Obama to refrain from joining 22 international organizations and treaties. “President Obama was a decent leader and we negotiated with his secretary of state John Kerry on this issue. President Obama asked that the state of Palestine refrain from joining 22 international organizations and we agreed on condition that the American president commit in writing about the 1967 borders of the future Palestinians and that the US will not move its embassy to Jerusalem.”
The veteran Palestinian negotiator noted that these commitments have been ignored by the Trump administration and therefore there “is no reason why Palestinians must adhere to its side of the agreement.” The 22 international organizations that Palestine will join now including the International Telecommunications’ Union, Food and Agriculture Organization, WIPO the World Intellectual Property Organization and others.
Erekat, the secretary of the PLO’s executive committee, told journalists that Palestinian Christians and Muslims are a proud people and have no interest in being part of policies that try to involve God in decisions having to do with people’s rights. “We made the move now because the Israelis have been making a mockery of agreements with us.”
Erekat noted that Netanyahu said in 1993 that he wanted to bury the Oslo Accords. “We will not accept apartheid and we are not defeated as some in Washington arrogantly want us to surrender. We are standing up for our rights. Israel might be able to come to my home and put me under town arrest or even demolish my home but they will not find a Palestinian to sign a peace treaty with them,” he said.
The PLO official told journalists that the Palestinian leadership's decision is not an abandonment of the people but a reflection of our desire for a just peace. “We are now in the process of moving from an authority to a state. We will continue to build the institutions of the Palestinian state.”