(AP/Amr Nabil)
Saeb Erekat

Israel maintains that the PLO must recognize Israel as the Jewish State as a crucial element of any peace agreement. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat claims that the PLO has already done so, but wishes to retract the recognition.

The PLO’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, released a 56-page report on Palestinian-Israeli relations on Thursday, calling for a “comprehensive review of the current status quo.”

In a report entitled “Determining Palestinian-Israeli relations: Changing, not merely improving, the situation,” the PLO leader recommends that the Palestinian leadership “consider retracting its recognition of Israel until the Israeli government issues a reciprocal recognition of a Palestinian state.”

He claimed that the PLO, under the leadership of arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, recognized the State of Israel in 1988. He further said that Israel has not reciprocated such a recognition.

However, Israel maintains that the Palestinians have never recognized Israel as a Jewish State, and Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly rejected requests to do so.

The study recommended that the PA should reject any international call for recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, claiming that such a recognition would harm Arabs with Israeli citizenship.

Erekat made several policy suggestions he would like the PLO to embrace.

The paper posited that the Palestinians must not approve the deployment of Israeli forces along the Jordan Valley as part of a peace agreement. Israel wishes to maintain an IDF presence in the Jordan Valley under any agreement for security reasons.

The PLO must also reject any concessions to its sovereignty over east Jerusalem, he added, which it would like to claim as the capital of its future state.

Relating to the recent political crisis in the Palestinian Authority (PA), Erekat did not explicitly call for disbanding the PA, but said that the Authority’s power must extend beyond security coordination and salary distribution.

Arabs rioting.

The so-called “popular resistance.” (Flash90)

Erekat suggested that efforts be made for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join the PLO’s Executive Committee. This point made by Erekat may challenge and contradict political moves made by Abbas to keep Hamas out of the government by dissolving it this week.

The PLO official also recommended that the Palestinian leadership play a better role in assisting the self-styled Palestinian diaspora in Lebanon and Syria.

Erekat concluded with a call to arms, urging the PLO and the other Palestinian factions to support the so-called “popular resistance,” meaning the use of rocks and fire-bomb terror, and the boycott of Israeli products.

By: United with Israel Staff

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