Palestinian Negotiator to Push Statehood Case with Kerry

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters/Hamodia) —

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat will present plans to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday calling for a timetable on Israeli withdrawal from Yehuda and Shomron and east Yerushalayim, Palestinian officials said.

Erekat and intelligence chief Majid Faraj will hold a series of meetings with senior officials in Washington in which they will press the case for Palestinian statehood, after a year of talks between Israel and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas collapsed in April.

The discussions with Kerry will focus on establishing a timeframe: Renewed peace negotiations for no more than nine months followed by a gradual Israeli withdrawal from Yehuda and Shomron and east Yerushalayim that will take no more than three years, according to a Palestinian official close to Mahmoud Abbas.

In an interview with a Palestinian news outlet last week, Abbas said it should only take “half an hour or an hour” to delineate the borders of a Palestinian state, since the United States agreed they should be based on the 1967 ceasefire lines.

“There’s either a political solution or there isn’t,” he said. “But going here and there, up and down, talking and not talking — it’s been 20 years and nothing has happened.”

If there is no agreement on borders in coming months — at least by the end of the year — Abbas said he would have no choice but to push ahead with unilateral statehood moves, including a resolution in the United Nations Security Council and joining the International Criminal Court, which could open the way for proceedings against Israel.

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