News Analysis: Palestinians awaiting eagerly outcomes of Quartet, AL meetings

15:28, July 11, 2011      

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by Osama Radi, Emad Drimly

The Palestinians are eagerly waiting for the outcomes of two decisive meetings, the international Quartet meeting due to be held soon in Washington and the meeting of the Arab League Committee to follow up the Middle East peace process.

Since the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks thoroughly stopped last October, the Palestinians have announced that if Israel doesn 't stop settlement construction in the Palestinian territories and the peace talks are not resumed, they would apply unilaterally to the UN in September for the recognition of an independent state established on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

The United States, Europe, Russia and the UN, namely the international Quartet, will convene in Washington on Monday to look for possibilities to resume the stalled peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in order to avoid the Palestinians' intention of seeking the UN recognition

After the international Quartet meeting, the AL follow-up committee is due to convene on July 16, in which the Palestinians and the Arab countries would make their final decision on whether to officially apply to the UN for the international recognition or not in case the peace process collapsed.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), earlier stated that any call made by the Quartet to the Palestinians to resume the talks without being based on the principle of the two-state solution "would not be binding to the Palestinian side."


As Israel and the U.S. are against the Palestinian decision to gain the UN recognition without negotiations with Israel, pressure on the Palestinians has mounted to oblige them to withdraw their decision, despite the U.S. reiteration that it seeks a resumption of the talks based on the two-state solution.

The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have warned that the U.S. would cut aids to the Palestinians if they insist on going to the UN, and the U.S. government also warned of vetoing against the Palestinian bid.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians also find themselves in heavy economic and financial pressures which are likely to increase within the coming two months, mainly because Israel has curbed the tax revenue dues to the Palestinian National Authority.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) had to pay its employees half of June's salary and it is expected that the shortage would increase amid the U.S. warning of cutting off aids, while the Arab countries showed no commitment to its financial pledges to the PNA.

To ease the increasing U.S. and Israeli pressures, the Palestinians urged the international community to exert pressure on Israel to make an obligation that Israel will commit itself to in order to resume the talks. The Palestinians especially welcomed any European Union efforts in this respect.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Xinhua that the Palestinian stance is very clear and frank. "We are with the direct negotiations and we want to resume it, only if the Israeli government responds to our demand and shows commitments to the international terms and resolutions," he said.

"Applying to the UN is not contradicting with the peace process, on the contrary, according to the political and legal criteria it would reinforce the principle of the two-state solution. Therefore, despite the pressures, the Palestinians will keep going to the UN, " said Erekat.

Hani al-Masri, a West Bank-based political analyst, told Xinhua that whatever the outcomes of the Quartet meeting or the Arab League Committee meeting, "the Palestinians should not abandon their decision to head to the United Nations for demanding independence."

"But at the same time, I believe that the Palestinians would only focus their steps on demanding a full UN membership to avoid more confrontations with the United States in the Security Council, " said al-Masri.

According to al-Masri, the Palestinian expectation on the Quartet meeting due in Washington on Monday is slim, and the chances for resuming the stalled direct peace talks with Israel " are very limited, too."

Source: Xinhua
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