Israel should first recognize independent Palestinian state: official

10:21, January 03, 2011      

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Israel should be the first country to recognize an independent Palestinian state and withdraw from the lands it has occupied in 1967, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday.

"If Israel has the least seriousness to make peace, it should be the first country to recognize Palestine as a state... it is clear that Israel has preferred settlement," Erekat said, referring to Israel's decision to resume constructions in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Israel opposes decisions recently made by some Latin American countries that recognize the Palestinian state, saying the recognition should follow the negotiated solution with the Palestinians.

On Friday, Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas invited Israel to present its vision regarding the future Palestinian state and its proposals for security issues through a third party.

However, Israel refused Abbas' suggestion. "This is another proof that Israel is not serious about reaching a peace deal that enables the creation of a Palestinian state," Erekat said.

The U.S.-brokered Palestinian-Israeli peace talks broke down in September, when Israel resumed the settlements construction after a 10-month partial moratorium.

The Palestinians prepared to seek an international recognition of their state in response to the deadlock.

Source: Xinhua
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