A senior member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has blamed the Israeli government for the collapse of the peace process. Saeb Erekat, who, as the ex-Chief Palestinian Negotiator, has insider knowledge of the stalled negotiations, has said that Israel chose its settlement programme over peace and rejected the terms of reference for the discussions.
In a statement issued to coincide with his meeting with a delegation from the French Socialist Party in Areha, Dr Erekat called upon the international community to recognise an independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital based on the borders of 4 June, 1967. He also urged the international community to acknowledge that finding solutions to the final status issues, in particular Palestinian refugees and prisoners as per related international resolutions, is the way to consolidate peace in the region.
Addressing those who talk about democracy in the Middle East, Erekat suggested that they should recognise that the key to democracy is to end the quagmire of Israel's occupation; democracy and peace go hand in hand, he added, and cannot be separated.
An official Palestinian media source said that Erekat briefed the delegation of the French Socialist Party on the latest developments in the political and civil arenas. In doing so, he also presented them with some documents and maps connected to the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the annexation wall, Palestinian prisoners and refugees, the fresh water crisis and the siege of the Gaza Strip.