UN Bid Key to ‘Two States for Two Nations,' Says Saeb Erakat

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Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, makes the case for the Palestinian bid for "non-member-state" status at the United Nations general Assembly.

When people ask me why we intend on asking the United Nations [to upgrade our status] on Nov. 29, I say simply: That is the only way to preserve the solution of two states for two nations. That is the solution supported by United States President George W. Bush; and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stated that Israel is committed to it.

Throughout the last 20 years, we have tried to achieve the two-state solution through negotiation, but without success. Throughout this period, the circumstances on the ground have changed to our detriment — the settlements have continued to expand, and Palestinian oppression has continued by means of the construction of the fence and the imposition of barriers, leading to an impossible situation. Therefore we have decided to take action in order to promote the establishment of the Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, a state that will live side by side with the state of Israel.

That is our only objective, and that is where we are headed. We view the retention of the Two States for Two Nations solution as a paramount commitment, as well as preserving the complete 1967 borders that are in danger today due to the expansion of the settlements. All the strata of Palestinian society want to achieve this solution. Everyone, without exception, support the path led by Abu Mazen and his bid to the United Nations in order to recognize a renewed status of the Palestinian Authority as a Palestinian observer state that is not a member of the United Nations institutions.

We are very surprised by the opposition of the state of Israel to our bid to the United Nations, and we think that Israeli citizens should be exactly as surprised as we are.

Why does your government, and part of your nation, relate negatively to our desire to realize our wish?

If we the Palestinians, all of them, want to call for United Nations agreement to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders next to the State of Israel, a reality we have not succeeded in bringing about throughout 20 years of dialogue, why are there objections on the part of Israel? Wasn't that the promise we received — the solution of two states for two nations?

Found in: un, statehood, palestinian, pa, israeli and american fears, israel
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