Following Meeting with Quartet, Saeb Erekat: Failed Formulas Cannot Be Re-tried
Speaking after the meeting with Quartet representatives today, Dr. Saeb Erekat reaffirmed the PLO position: “We explained to the Quartet that we are prepared to sit at the negotiating table as soon as the Israeli government freezes all settlement construction and accepts clear terms of reference, specifically the 1967 borders. These are not favors that Israel is doing for us. These are its obligations in accordance with international law and the Road Map. Anything short of that will simply put us back on the failed track that we have been on for the last 20 years.”
“We have no problem with dialogue, but it must be meaningful and cannot be a cover for Israel’s colonization of our land. Between the months of January 2011 until today, this government has approved the building of thousands of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with East Jerusalem being most severely affected. This is not an environment in which any meaningful negotiations can begin,” said Dr. Erekat.
The Palestinian side also brought up the issue of the more than 5000 Palestinians who remain in Israeli prisons. Dr. Erekat confirmed that he delivered a letter to the Quartet, on behalf of the PLO Executive Committee, asking for it to support Palestinian efforts to have the Israeli government implement its obligations under a 2008 prisoner agreement between President Abbas and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Dr. Erekat concluded, “We need the Quartet to explain, in practical terms, what measures it will take to ensure that a future round of negotiations will succeed where countless previous rounds have failed. Issuing statements and press releases is not enough as evidenced by Israel’s continued intransigence. Israel needs to be held accountable through concrete measures and understand that it is not above the law.”
Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat and Member of Fatah’s Central Committee, Dr. Mohamad Shtayeh attended the meeting.
Negotiations Affairs Department
Palestine Liberation Organization