Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat is denying that he apologized to Israel – as presented in a campaign video promoting the Geneva Initiative.
Erekat was criticized by Palestinians for allegedly hinting at regret in a videotaped address.
"Unfortunately, my comments were interpreted as an apology in the name of the Palestinian people to Israel – which totally contrasts my beliefs," he told the London-Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.
“Shalom to you in Israel, I know we have disappointed you, I know we have been unable to deliver peace for the last 19 years," Erekat says in a video posted on the Geneva Initiative's website.
The negotiator told the paper that he had agreed to participate in the campaign aimed at swaying public opinion in Israel in order to convince people that "we can still obtain a peaceful solution despite past failures".
However, he said, his comments had been wrongly interpreted. "I spoke as the director of negotiations and meant to say that we, as negotiators – Palestinians and Israelis equally – have disappointed our peoples by failing to reach an agreement to end the conflict despite lengthy years of negotiations," Erekat said.
"I never for a moment considered apologizing to the Israeli people on behalf of the Palestinian people – a nation which suffers daily from the policy of occupation, deportation, and humiliation, and which is really the one worthy of an apology."
On Wednesday Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad decided to remove his pictures from the campaign website, explaining that his permission had not been asked to use them.
Fayyad said he sees the campaign as pro-Israeli, presenting the Palestinians as a people forever failing to achieve peace and now apologizing and asking for favors.
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