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Monday, July 03, 2000, updated at 14:02(GMT+8)

Israel's Recognition of Palestinian State Serves Its Interests, PNA Official

Speaker of the Palestinian National Council (PNA) Salim Za'noon said Sunday that Israel's recognition of the Palestinian state would serve Israel's own interests.

"The declaration of statehood is an absolute right of the Palestinian people and emanates from the Palestinians' right to self-determination," Za'noon told the opening meeting of the Palestinian Central Committee (PCC) session.

"There is nothing in the Oslo accords that goes against the statehood declaration," he noted, quoting the Berlin Statement of the European Union as saying that "No body has the right to veto the Palestinian statehood declaration even Israel itself."

"We try every means to remove the obstacles placed by Israel on the road to the Palestinian statehood. Thereby, we will choose the proper time for statehood declaration in line with the international efforts and local convenience," he added.

Asked by Xinhua on the Israeli military threats against the statehood declaration, Za'noon said "Our people is accustomed to such threats. We no longer fear such threats even if they are serious."

"We do not offend any body. We urge the international community to support us in the issue of statehood declaration," he said.

Za'noon dismissed media reports on the Palestinian intention to leave the self-rule areas in case of failure of talks with Israel.

"How could we leave Palestine?" he wondered, adding "We will stay and defend our towns and villages. We will defend ourselves against any attacks."

"If Israel recognizes the Palestinian state, this will contribute positively to many things and will serve the interests of Israel itself. The mainstream in Israel calls on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak not to oppose the declaration of the future Palestinian independent state," he underscored.

Last week Barak sent verbal message to Chairman of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Yasser Arafat through U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, warning that Israel would reoccupy the Palestinian self-rule areas if the Palestinian state was unilaterally declared.

Barak is not against the the Palestinian statehood but he prefers that it be declared under an agreement with Israel in the framework of a permanent peace treaty.

Za'noon who chaired the PCC session said that the statehood declaration in the coming weeks is the absolute right of the Palestinians.

About 108 out of the 127 PCC members attended Sunday meeting together with 50 representatives of Palestinian factions and organizations, Za'noon pointed out.

The PCC session will discuss the date of the statehood declaration, the latest developments of the talks with Israel, and the ways of activating the organs of the PLO.

In This Section

Speaker of the Palestinian National Council (PNA) Salim Za'noon said Sunday that Israel's recognition of the Palestinian state would serve Israel's own interests.

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