Top Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat urged U.S. President Barack Obama to take "decisive action" against the Israeli occupation, amid speculation that the president would make a legacy-making decision on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after the November election.
Recent criticism by the U.S. of the Israeli settlements "raises questions about whether the United States is willing to take any action after the November election in America," Saeb Erekat wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post published Monday.
"President Obama has the opportunity not to be remembered as the U.S. president who allowed the two-state solution to disappear," Saeb Erekat wrote.
While commending the strong U.S. criticism of Israeli policies, Erekat said more is needed to ensure the continuing viability of the two-state solution.
"For the Palestinians those statements are nothing else than a repetition of recycled positions, lacking any genuine action on the ground," Erekat wrote.
Israel continues to expand the settlements because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is undeterred by "strong condemnation," Erekat wrote, calling instead for a full boycott settlements, recognition of the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders, and allowing the UN Security Council to "fulfill its mandate for Palestine."
"Rather than a new set of parameters, what’s needed is decisive action for the implementation of the internationally endorsed vision: free Palestine from the occupation that began in 1967, hold Israel accountable to its commitments under international law and implement the Arab Peace Initiative as a regional framework for peace," Erekat wrote.
Israeli officials, including Netanyahu, have voiced concerns that Obama will use the period between the election and the end of his term for efforts to create a permanent legacy of his own on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Last week, a senior Palestinian official told Haaretz that both Egypt and the United States have warned the Palestinian leadership not to advance any moves at the UN Security Council until after the U.S. presidential election.
Egypt currently holds a rotating seat on the Security Council and the U.S. is a permanent member.
According to the senior Palestinian official, the message stressed that until the U.S. election is over, Washington will veto any resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, including a denunciation of the settlements.
Despite the Palestinians’ dissatisfaction with this situation, he added, they do not intend to make any moves at the Security Council until after the U.S. elections. Immediately after the elections however, the Palestinians do plan to ramp up their efforts at the Security Council, a senior Abbas aide said.
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