The Palestinian Authority (PA) is likely to be wound up at the end of the year according to PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat if no agreement is reached with Israel on the so called “two-state solution” - the creation of a new Arab state between Israel, Jordan and Egypt.
Mr Erekat made the threat at a meeting in New York on June 25 hosted by the International Peace Institute (IPI) - which also featured Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor.
Mr Erekat warned that if by the end of this year there was no two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority then Israel will "sweat".
He explained that the Palestinian Authority was founded to establish the institutions for a Palestinian state, not to keep Israel as a source of authority forever.
"If Israel insists on maintaining control the Palestinian Authority cannot stand - it's irrelevant."
Mr Erekat’s statement was a direct rebuff to Mr Meridor who had earlier stated:
“I hope that if we can’t get a full agreement on the outstanding issues regarding Jerusalem, refugees, final borders and security, we will not let negotiations collapse but alongside that build up from what we have now - a good economic growth - over 8 per cent growth last year in the West Bank and I hope more this year - and an absence of terror - into more steps towards a Palestinian State.”
The New York meeting added a new dimension to the past direct negotiations and the current proximity negotiations that one might call “in your face public negotiations” - when two of the most senior politicians from either side of the conflict traded blows for two hours.
The gaps between them were wide and obviously unbridgeable by next December, especially given the fractured relations between Hamas and the PA and the division of the West Bank and Gaza into two separately governed areas.
Mr Meridor claimed that the PA had had 288 meetings with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert following the Annapolis Conference in November 2007 and that no response had been received to the offer made to the PA by Israel.
Brandishing two maps Mr Erekat angrily responded that Israel’s offer of a land swap of 6.5 per cent of the West Bank in exchange for an equal area from Israel’s sovereign territory had been met by a counter offer by the PA of a land swap equal to 1.9 per cent on July 30, 2008.
Absent was any mention of their hopelessly polarised views on Jerusalem, refugees and water or what was going to happen to 500,000 Jews who had been living in the West Bank for the last four decades.
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