Erekat: Palestinians Planning 'Massive' Diplomatic Push for State Recognition

Top Palestinian negotiator says PA has two-prong goal to gain recognition of Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as capital, achieve membership as state in UN.

The Palestinian Authority is planning a massive diplomatic campaign to gain recognition of statehood from both the United Nations as well as individual countries, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Sunday, according to a report by Maan News Agency.

Erekat explained that the PA had a two-prong goal: "First gaining recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, secondly gaining membership as a state in the UN."


The PA negotiator called the recognition campaign massive, according to the Maan report, and the initiative is being spearheaded by Fatah parliamentary bloc leader Azzam Ahmad and Palestine People's Party representative Bassam Salhi, who will travel to China to lobby support.

Other Palestinian leaders will take part in the push for Palestinian statehood, Erekat said according to the report.

PA officials Abbas Zaki and Sabi Seidam are going to India and Vietnam, PA spokesman Ghassan Al-Khatib will go to Australia and New Zealand, lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi will go to Canada and senior official Nabil Shaath will go to Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Portugal.

Palestinian President Abbas began a European tour on Saturday, and is visiting Norway, Spain and Turkey.

Just days ago, Erekat called on the U.S. to reconsider its decision to veto a Palestinian bid for statehood in the United Nations in September, saying there was no reason for the U.S. to withhold approval, according to an Army Radio report.

"Israel has ruined the peace (process), and the United States must reconsider its stance on the matter," the Palestinian negotiator said on Saturday.

Erekat criticized the U.S. inability to revive peace talks, saying the U.S. has no reason to veto the resolution for the establishment of a Palestinian state "after it failed to move the peace process forward or halt settlement building."

Despite Erekats entreaties, Palestinian sources and European diplomats have said that the Palestinians will give up their effort to be accepted as a full member of the UN - a move that would require approval by the Security Council - and will seek instead recognition by the General Assembly of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, which will not be a full member of the organization.

This is in a bid to avoid a U.S. veto in the UN Security Council, which following a failed meeting of the Quartet foreign ministers in Washington last week is appearing to be increasingly inevitable.

Over 130 of the 192 member states of the United Nations are expected to support the establishment of a Palestinian state if it is brought up for a vote by the General Assembly in September.