“We know what it takes to make peace between Palestinians and Israelis” veteran Palestinian negotiator Sa’eb Erekat said at a press conference on Wednesday. “We only need President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert to make the decisions…If these two can deliver they will be the most important persons to walk the streets here since Jesus Christ”.
“Now is the time for decisions”, veteran Palestinian negotiator Sa’eb Erekat said at a press conference at the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem on Wednesday, where he was invited to speak to the members of the Foreign Press Association in
Erekat seemed to be indicating that it didn’t matter what the result would be called.
“Signing agreements doesn’t make peace … The only lasting agreements are the fair ones”, Erekat said.
He said he was under oath not to speak about or disclose the details of the current negotiations. “What I said is that what needs to be done is to take decisions … What is needed is decisions, not negotiations”, Erekat said.
“I’ve never seen the Palestinians and Israelis closer to achieving an end game”, Erekat said. And, “it’s the Palestinians and Israelis who must make the necessary decisions”, and not a third party, he said. He did add that “U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is coming in two weeks, and American diplomats are on the phone every hour. But now it’s the moment of truth — It’s either settlements or peace”.
“President Bush has no right to discuss with
“Without giving me the percentage of [territorial] swaps”, Erekat said, “there will be no agreement”. But “with the percentage of agreed swaps, you’ll get an agreement in three months”, Erekat said. “The end game is defined and the rest is all technicalities, and if you settle them, you’ll get a treaty of 1,000 pages in three months”.
“Some Palestinian leaders are throwing options in the air, Kosovo has unilaterally declared independence, and so will we, etc. But we are not playing with that”, Erekat said. “We have been elected to achieve something – we have a mandate – and if we fail to deliver, then what? Shouldn’t we tell our people the truth?”
Erekat added: “I don’t want to export fear, but if we fail to deliver in 2008, we will disappear. There’ll be a big question about the ability of the Palestinian Authority to survive. I mean me, and what I represent. And the impact will not be confined to the Palestinians and the Israelis – watch the region!”
Asked to explain what negotiations are taking place with the Egyptians, and with the Yemenis, Erekat replied: “Yesterday
Erekat said: “The coup d’etat in
Erekat rejected all the efforts by journalists to arrive at a precise definition of the meaning of “tahdiya” in English — he said it’s not détente, not cooling off, not cease-fire, not calm, not a truce .
But what should happen, he said, is “a mutual ‘tahdiya‘ between two sides, to stop shooting, everybody is to stop shooting”.
He added: “We accepted the Yemeni proposal, as we accepted the
In response to a question from the BBC Arabic TV, asking whether the problem in the negotiations might, maybe, be with the negotiations team itself, Erekat replied: “I hear this a lot, by the way. I’ve resigned, I quit. 46 times. But the problem is not personalised. I don’t want my son to grow up to be a suicide bomber. We’ve established the best negotiations team in the