Qureia. 'We heard Netanyahu'
Photo: AP
Ex-Palestinian PM: Turning to UN a legitimate option
Ahmed Qureia, member of PLO's Executive Committee, unmoved by Prime Minister Netanyahu's statement that unilateral moves by Palestinians will be answered with similar moves by Israel
The Palestinian Liberation Organization's Executive Committee was expected to convene in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday afternoon to discuss the Palestinian moves in light of the deadlock in the peace process with Israel and reconciliation efforts with Hamas.


The meeting was to be held on the backdrop of chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat's statement over the weekend that the Palestinians were working to gain international support for unilaterally declaring an independent state.


"So far we have made negotiations our top priority," former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia told Ynet ahead of the meeting, "but this has led nowhere apart from additional settlements, creating facts on the ground and reinforcing the process of Judaizing Jerusalem."


Qureia, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, added that "as people living under occupation, we are committed to looking into other options. Diplomacy is an option, turning to the UN is an option, the popular struggle is an option. All options are available and we have many possibilities."


Qureia appeared unfazed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's threats that Israel would respond with unilateral moves to any unilateral move made by the Palestinians.


"It's true that the Israel threat exists, and we have heard Netanyahu, but as far as we are concerned, the occupation is the biggest threat that can be," he said.


All the possible scenarios on the political level have been discussed in closed forums in Ramallah in recent days, including the possibility of disbanding the Palestinian Authority, although this move will most likely remain the final option.


"At this stage it's not on the agenda yet, but all options are on the table as far as the Palestinians are concerned," Qureia said.


New order after Oslo

Another senior Palestinian official told Ynet that Qureia meant to say that the Palestinians were no longer afraid to raise options which may change the global order created after the Oslo Accords.


According to the official, there is an option to "declare the death" of the peace process in its known format and all other options must be considered, even at the price of dragging Israel deeper into the West Bank.


The source added that at this stage the Palestinians prefer to utilize the unilateral declaration to the fullest while promoting Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's plan to establish a state within two years.


The Executive Committee was also expected to discuss ways to fill the vacuum slated to be created in the Palestinian Authority in January, after the Hamas-controlled Legislative Committee marks the end of its fourth year.


The plan, which was first reported by Ynet, is to transfer the Legislative Committee's authorities to the PLO's Central Committee, in order to put an end to the paralyzing division, and be rid of the legislative obstacles placed by Hamas, which is not a member of the PLO.


According to the plan, which is slated to be put in action in January, Mahmoud Abbas' main role will be PLO head, meaning the current president, who recently announced he does not plan to run for another term in office, will remain in the same position he currently fills.


However, Abbas will also serve as the PA's temporary acting president, since general elections called for January 24 are likely to be postponed. A final decision on the new political structure is slated to be made during a National Palestinian Council session on December 22.


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