Palestinian Authority Should End Joint Security With Israel, Says Chief Palestinian Negotiator

Step should be taken if U.S. vetoes Palestinian end-of-occupation bid at UN Security Council, Saeb Erekat says.

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In this Tuesday April 1, 2014 photo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, joined by Palestinian chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat, signs an application to UN agencies, in Ramallah.
In this Tuesday April 1, 2014 photo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, joined by Palestinian chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat, signs an application to UN agencies, in Ramallah.Credit: AP

The Palestinian Authority should end its security coordination with Israel if the United States vetoes a Palestinian-sponsored UN Security Council resolution recognizing a Palestinian state, according to chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Erekat made this recommendation in a position paper he submitted to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO Executive Committee, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz.

In the 77-page document, Erekat chronicles all the Palestinian diplomatic activity from when the negotiations with Israel broke down in March, through Abbas’ address to the UN General Assembly last month. At the end of the document, Erekat makes 11 recommendations for steps the Palestinian leadership should take in the coming months.

The first suggestion is to expedite the consultations with the Arab states and international community, and immediately afterward ask the Security Council to vote on the Palestinian resolution, which calls for recognizing Palestine as a state and setting a two-year timetable for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank.

Erekat wrote in the document that during recent Palestinian talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and American envoy to the peace process Frank Lowenstein, the Americans made it clear that they oppose the PA’s joining any more UN agencies or international treaties.

The document also states that during these talks, the Americans had threatened to veto the Palestinian resolution if it was brought to a vote. Erekat cites a list of possible Palestinian responses to the U.S. veto, the first being a halt to the security cooperation with Israel, which in recent years has become very close and has kept the security situation in the West Bank relatively stable.

Erekat also suggests that when security cooperation is suspended, Abbas convey to Israel that from that point, responsibility for whatever happens in the West Bank is Israel’s, on the grounds that it is the occupying power. Erekat stressed that he was not recommending that the PA be dismantled, but only to rebalance the relationship between Israel and the PA.

'No plans to cut off ties'

A senior Palestinian official told Haaretz that there are no plans to cut off security ties with Israel in the near future.

“President Abbas was clear on this issue, but he has also made it clear in the past that there is a need to reconsider the whole relationship with Israel,” the Palestinian official said. “What is clear is that the current situation cannot continue and that is the message to Israel and the international community.”

Erekat also recommends that the PA seek to join 522 UN agencies, international conventions, and treaties.

At the same time, the PA should continue implementing the reconciliation agreement with Hamas and take all the necessary steps to prepare for elections for PA president and for the Palestinian National Council, a PLO body that under Erekat’s recommendation would become the new Palestinian parliament. Before the elections, Erekat says, the Palestinian National Council, in cooperation with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, must hold new elections for the PLO Executive Committee, which would become the provisional government of the state of Palestine.

The next step Erekat recommends is that the state of Palestine approach all EU member states and ask them to follow Sweden’s lead by announcing that they, too, recognize the state of Palestine along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Erekat also recommended that Abbas visit Switzerland, the state responsible for the Geneva Convention, to call there for an emergency meeting of all the countries that are signatories to the convention, to implement it in the territory of the Palestinian state. The Palestinians should also continue pushing for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to establish a special UN regime for the protection of Palestinian people.

Palestinian officials told Haaretz that Kerry is expected in the coming weeks to introduce new ideas that may lead to the resumption of negotiations with Israel and prevent a Palestinian appeal to the UN. In his last meeting with Abbas in Cairo, Kerry had asked for a “time out” and had received a promise that the Palestinians would not turn to the UN before mid-November, after the American congressional elections.

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