Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told Ynet he hoped to create a "positive reality" by the summer of 2011, which would help his people with the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The Palestinians are still committed to the political track, "which is the best means for the foundation of the Palestinian state," he said, but implied that a Palestinian a state will be established even if talks fail. "Our hope is that it will bring the end of the occupation by next summer, but if it doesn't happen we hope that the building process we've been through in the last 2 years will make it harder on the sides to ignore that we reached an almost-state."
"We hope this can be leveraged in order to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state," he said.
Fayyad participated Wednesday in the fifth annual Bil'in Conference on non-violent popular resistance against the fence and the settlements. He said the Palestinian government had reached a number of significant achievements, among them security in the West Bank territories under its command.
"Who would have believed in 2007 that we would succeed in reaching all of the security achievements we have made in the past two years. The success has increased our self-assurance that we are capable of achieving additional goals," Fayyad said.
"Our aspiration is for negotiations to accelerate the establishment of a Palestinian state, but if this doesn't work out we will aspire for our achievements and positive actions to serve as a lever that will assist in ending the occupation. We see an international consensus on our position and our efforts."
The massive presence of foreign diplomats, including representatives of the EU and UN secretary general, was a great source of pride for the Palestinians Wednesday. They believe that this presence was an expression of support for the PA's two-year plan, as the Palestinians continue in their state-building effort.
Fayyad himself mentioned the dozens of foreign diplomats who arrived in the West Bank village to take part in the conference.
"Their presence is an expression of support also expressed in the Quartet's statement last month, and the European Union's statement in December. In the conference I sat next to a representative of the UN secretary-general and a representative of the EU. This constitutes official international presence that bolsters our struggle, an inseparable part of the two-year plan to build a Palestinian state," he said.
The prime minister added that the plan had passed from the idea stage to the probability stage, and was now on its way to becoming a reality. "Our construction, accompanied by a popular, pacifistic, non-violent struggle, has caused this great success," he said.
Fayyad does not accept the Israeli proviso that a Palestinian state can be founded only through negotiations. "We demand the implication of international law to define ourselves. We hear the Israelis, but they are not the only players in this arena," he explained.
"We are not relinquishing negotiations as a method to establish a state, but in case this doesn't work we are preparing for a second possibility – to turn our dream into a reality."
The prime minister said his government was continuing to develop infrastructure for a future state. "We hope the achievements we reach by the summer of 2011 will offer leverage to end the occupation," he said, adding that Israel would benefit from the "peace and security" resulting from a Palestinian state.
In addition, Fayyad does not believe he is too much of an optimist. "I trust our work and international support, and believe that despite Israel's moves, especially in the realm of settlement, we will end the occupation. Meanwhile we are determined and consistent despite the hardships, to continue to build our own state," he said.
25 foreign diplomats present
Fayyad and the residents of Bilin could indeed perceive international support at the conference that took place in the village, which hosts anti-fence protests every week that often turn violent.
Altogether 25 foreign consuls and envoys took part in the conference, which was organized by the former vice president of the Italian parliament, Luisa Morgantini, and the chairman of the local popular committee against the fence, Iyad Burnat.
Speakers at the event included representatives of Fatah and the Abu-Rahma family, whose son Bassem was killed during a protest last year. Burnat presented information on the continuing struggle in Bilin, Naalin, and other West Bank villages whose residents claim to be hurt by the separation fence. He said so far 1,200 people had been injured in the struggle, and more than 85 arrested.
Morgantini said the Palestinian people were not begging, but asking for their rights with a non-violent struggle demanding to topple the fence, divide Jerusalem, and establish statehood. "This conference is meant to show the world that our struggle is against colonial resistance," she said.
Palestinian lawmaker Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, who was one of the leaders of the struggle, called on the foreign diplomats present to prevent Israel from joining the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC). "This can be your gift to peace activists and protestors in Bilin," he said.
French Parliament Member Jean Claude Lefort also spoke at the conference, and said Israel was trying to trap the supporters of the struggle by forcing them to resort to violence or surrender. "However the struggle continues to be popular and we will continue to support it," he said.
Fayyad had the last word at the event, and said the popular resistance was just one of three paths the Palestinian Authority was following. "The popular resistance is a track that helps to build institutions as well as the political battle run by Palestinian leadership. Each of these completes the other," he said.
The prime minister added that popular resistance was succeeding in spreading to other areas and creating a global consensus on the boycott against settlement-made products.