Chief PLO negotiator says "no progress in peace talks"
Livni and Erekat reportedly had a heated argument over the peace talks in Munich. Here, they are accompanied by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. (AFP/File)
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PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said a recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made no progress and a date for a framework agreement was yet to be set.
Erekat said he held several meeting with Kerry in Washington, and the two discussed ways to push the peace process forward but there was nothing official to report so far.
Kerry did not set a date for his next visit to the region or a date to present the framework agreement.
Kerry met with Erekat in Washington last week, after meeting with Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni.
“Until this moment and after the Quartet meeting which was held on Saturday in Munich, Kerry did not present anything written or official,” Erekat said.
He highlighted that the Palestinians awaited an official proposal from the U.S., which was postponed due to “deep issues with Israel which rejects the two-state solution and international law.”
Israel has decided to build over 10,000 settler homes, demolished over 219 Palestinian homes and killed over 40 Palestinians since restarting peace talks last July, Erekat noted.
He said that Israel should be held accountable by the international community, and not just condemned and denounced.
After meeting Kerry in Washington, Erekat flew to Munich for a symposium about the Middle East peace process at which he had a heated argument with Livni.
Erekat explained that the reason for the argument was her insistence that Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
“I told her in front of the whole world that we will not change our history, our religion or our civilization,” Erekat said. “We are the lawful sons of Palestine; we will not accept Israel as a Jewish state”.
He added: “I informed Livni that Israel must apologize for Palestinian refugees, because they weren’t displaced by a volcano or a tsunami, but by the establishment of Israel. They should apologize to them and solve their issue on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative and international decisions.”
“Livni accused us of not wanting peace, and I told her that Israel is racist against Palestinians in ways that did not happen in South Africa. The world should rise against this racist regime, hold it accountable and punish it,” he added.
Erekat said that discussions in Munich focused on the requirements of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the two-state solution.
He also rejected connecting the release of veteran Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails to signing a framework agreement.
He explained that the release of veteran prisoners was “a deal done out of the negotiations and is connected to the heavy price of freezing applications for UN organizations.”
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