The Palestinian Authority has warned that it may abandon its support of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which outlines a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel, and instead pursue the creation of a binational state between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, according to a document drafted by the PA's veteran chief negotiator.
The paper, entitled "The Political Situation in Light of Developments with the U.S. Administration and Israeli Government and Hamas's Continued Coup d'etat," was written by Saeb Erekat in December 2009.
It cites several methods of nonviolent resistance in light of the continued stagnation of the Mideast peace process. Among them are putting an end to security cooperation with Israel unless negotiations are resumed. This would mean the disbanding of the Palestinian security forces which have been trained by the U.S. security coordinator for the region, Gen. Keith Dayton, and potentially bolstering Hamas' role in maintaining order in the West Bank.
The document also raises the possibility of announcing the nullification of the Oslo Accords and even the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority. The chaos that would result from such a move, the document states, would force Israel to reassert military control over the entire the West Bank.
The third option proposed in the document - and possibly the most disconcerting from an Israeli perspective - is abandoning the pursuit of a two-state solution with Israel, and instead working toward a binational state that would exist on all the lands of historic Palestine.
Erekat told Haaretz that the third option is not his preferred course of action, but simply the default option based on what he called Israel's continued refusal to return to the negotiating table on the basis of terms agreed upon between Israel and the PA during the previous U.S. administration.
The 21-page document was sent in recent weeks to several leading policy scholars, the majority of whom work in Europe. In his paper, Erekat outlines the understandings reached during George W. Bush's administration, including the PA's willingness to consider compromising on its long-held insistence on the Right of Return.
According to the document's English translation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert that his government would be willing to accept the return of 150,000 Palestinian refugees to Israel within the framework of a final-status agreement.
The Palestinians, Erekat wrote, agreed to the return of 15,000 refugees a year over 10 years. Thereafter, refugees would only be permitted to settle in Israel through an agreement between both sides. The document's original Arabic version does not state how many refugees will be allowed to return to land that is now defined as Israel.
Erekat describes Hamas as an obstacle to reaching an agreement with Israel. His document states that the Fatah leadership is pushing for next month's Arab League summit in Tripoli, Libya to demand that Hamas state whether it supports a final-status agreement. Such a statement, Erekat said, would determine whether Hamas stands within the Arab consensus, or is more in line with Iranian policy.