A senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Executive Committee, Dr. Saeb Erekat, has called upon the international community to stop dealing with Israel as if it is a state above international law. He stressed the PLO's condemnation of the settlement policies adopted by the Israeli government, including favourable legislation, the provision of infrastructure and financial support for Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Erekat released a press statement during separate meetings with the official representative of the UN Secretary General, Robert Serry, and the US Consul General, Daniel Rubinstein, on Tuesday.
"The Israeli government has chosen to dictate to us and a policy of illegal settlements at the expense of peace and negotiations," said Dr. Erekat. "It bears full responsibility for the collapse of the peace process; the results of such policies will have a negative impact not only on the peace process but also on the region and its people." Israeli policies contribute to violence, chaos, extremism and bloodshed in the whole region, he added.
Dr. Erekat made it clear that the international community, especially the members of the Middle East Quartet, should hold the Israeli government fully accountable and responsible for the collapse of the peace process. He stressed the importance of maintaining the credibility of the PLO, which links the resumption of negotiations to a halt of all forms of settlement activities, including those in occupied East Jerusalem, the acceptance of the two state solution on the borders of 1967, and the release of prisoners and detainees, especially those who were arrested before the end of 1994. He pointed out, however, that these issues are obligations on Israel, not Palestinian conditions.