Abbas. What is the solution?
Erekat. Actions to continue
Abbas says determined to advance unilateral moves
Palestinian president unfazed by chilly American, European and even Egyptian responses to his plan to declare independent state. 'What is the solution for us? To stay without peace? This is why I made this move,' he explains following meeting with President Mubarak in Cairo
Despite the European and American objection to a Palestinian unilateral declaration of an independent sovereign state, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is sticking to his decision to turn to the United Nations Security Council for a resolution which would support such a move.
Speaking Tuesday at a press conference in Cairo following a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority was determined to move on in that direction.
According to Abbas, the Palestinian decision was made after the Arab League adopted a resolution supporting such a move last week. He added that the Palestinians reject the idea of a temporary state raised recently by Knesset Member Shaul Mofaz (Kadima).
"We sense a very difficult reality," he said. "What is the solution for us? To stay without peace? This is why I made this move," Abbas said.
It should be noted that Egypt is not keen on the Palestinian plan as well. Hossam Zaki, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Cairo, said Sunday that turning to the Security Council with a demand that it recognize a Palestinian state "is not an alternative for negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel."
Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat referred to the European Union's decision not to support a unilateral Palestinian state declaration, saying that Sweden, the current EU president, does not reflect the opinion of all EU countries and that the Palestinians would continue to act on the matter.
Erekat, who was the first Palestinian Authority official to reveal the unilateral plan, said that "this is the time, as far as we are concerned, to turn to the Security Council and receive recognition of a state within the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened Monday that Israel would respond with unilateral moves to any unilateral move by the Palestinians. Speaking at the Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said that "the Palestinians are running way from negotiations" and that "there is no one to talk to."
Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned during the Labor faction meeting against a drift in the world's opinions on the matter. "We must view the alternatives," he said. "Without an alternative there is a possibility that the support for a unilateral declaration will grow, alongside a stronger demand for a bi-national state."
Former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, rejected Netanyahu's remarks, saying that "all options are on the table as far as the Palestinians are concerned."
He told Ynet, "So far we have made negotiations our top priority, but this has led nowhere apart from additional settlements, creating facts on the ground and reinforcing the process of Judaizing Jerusalem.
"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."