Erekat Calls on US to Push for Winds of Peace, not Drums of War


RAMALLAH, March 6, 2012 (WAFA) – Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat Tuesday called on the United States to push for winds of peace and not drums of war.

Commenting on the outcome of a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington and his meeting with US President Barack Obama, Erekat said the two leaders failed to address the more pressing issue in the region, which is the Palestinian question, and focused instead on the conflict with Iran.

“Obama spoke about peace without specifying its requirements,” he said at a press conference.

“The prerequisite for peace is to end the Israeli occupation and establish the independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.

Erekat said what came out from Washington was “a war plan, not a peace plan.”

He warned that the Middle East cannot tolerate more wars after the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, stressing that the Palestinian conflict remains the primary issue for stability and security in the region.

“No issue is above the Palestinian issue,” he said. “No one can deny the Palestinian issue.”

He said President Mahmoud Abbas was still working on a letter he plans to send Netanyahu that would detail the Palestinian position from the peace process, denying reports that Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh was going to deliver it.

He said pursuing Palestinian membership in the United Nations has not stopped and it remains part of the Palestinian strategy, explaining however that effort to continue with that depends on Netanyahu’s response to Abbas’ letter.

Erekat called for release of Hana Shalabi, the Palestinian prisoner held in administrative detention in Israeli jails since February 16 and who has been on hunger strike since then to protest her detention without charge of trial.

He called for the abolition of the administrative detention policy implemented during the British mandate on Palestine and which Britain had cancelled after the end of its mandate in 1948. Israel, he said, kept enforcing this policy against the Palestinian population.


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