The Palestinians are signaling they are still planning to go ahead with efforts to declare an independent state with the backing of the United Nations.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said during a visit in Tunisia that the Palestinian Authority is ready to establish a state. "We are counting on the words of US President Barack Obama who said his vision is to see a Palestinian state this coming September according to a deadline set by the Quartet."
Abbas added that 130 countries have already recognized a Palestinian state on 1967 borders and that this number could well reach 140 or 150. He stated that Western European countries have also accepted the fact that a Palestinian state will be established sooner or later, despite not having recognized it yet.
Abbas. Going ahead with plans to declare state (Photo: Reuters)
The Palestinian leader said he rejects statements Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly made alluding to a state on provisional borders. "Such talk means only one thing – that the Israeli-Arab conflict will go on for generations to come."
Abbas is slated to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé recently said that France and the European Union are working on initiatives which will see Israel and the Palestinian back at the negotiating table in talks leading up to recognition of a Palestinian state in the fall.
Hanan Ashrawi, member of the PLO's executive committee said that LA Times reports suggesting that the Quartet may recognize a Palestinian state are purely speculative. The Quartet has a duty to recognize a state and not threaten to recognize it, she said. Saeb Erekat made similar statements.
Meanwhile, Israeli state officials sounded surprisingly optimistic on Tuesday. Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said: "The Palestinian threat for a unilateral move in the UN is an idle threat. I believe the Europeans will not vote in favor of this in the end."
Another state official noted, "Abu Mazen (Abbas) is going around the world trying to raise support but not everyone in the PA believe it's the right move for the Palestinians right now. They all understand that a vote will not change reality on the ground. The Europeans are not likely to vote for the Palestinians.
"Should the resolution address clear borders and the right of return – they won't get the Europeans' support. "
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report
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