'Lack of Peace Has a Price' Says Top Palestinian Official

Nabil Sha'ath says Palestinians will seek international recognition of occupation if there is no progress in peace talks.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath

The Palestinian Authority will turn to the international arena to gain recognition as a country under occupation if there is no progress in peace talks, Fatah head of international relations Nabil Sha'ath said on Thursday during a Meretz conference in Tel Aviv.

"The advantages of peace and the costs of peace are clear, but the lack of peace should also have a price," Sha'ath said. "We therefore believe in pushing efforts of non-violent resistance, which includes turning to international organizations and requesting recognition of the occupation."

Sha'ath said the Palestinians are interested in renewing talks, and that there are core issues that can be negotiated- but also those that are beyond negotiation, specifically: the Palestinian right to self-determination within 1967 borders and the right to Palestinian unity.

Addressing the unity deal with Hamas, Sha'ath said "Netanyahu finds himself in a Catch 22. On one hand, before reconciliation with Hamas, the claim was that Fatah has no control over Hamas and thus doesn't represent all Palestinians, and on the other hand, after the deal, the claim is we made an agreement with a terror organization."

Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said at the conference that Netanyahu is a "hypocrite for condemning the Hamas-Fatah agreement, considering he has been conducting direct negotiations with Hamas for four years, but protests the minute Abu Mazen tries to achieve inter-Palestinian peace," she said.

Gal-On added that the reconciliation agreement is an opportunity for Israel since it can give legitimacy to a future Israeli-Palestinian deal, and turn Mahmoud Abbas into the representative of all Palestinians. "Israel does not have the privilege of being picky with the Palestinian side and whoever thinks we can continue to wait while we rule the Palestinians is delusional," she said.

On Thursday, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and 15 other organizations urged Abbas to seek access for Palestine at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

In a statement they said that such a move "could ensure access to international justice for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on Palestinian territories, and would send an important message that such crimes cannot be committed with impunity."