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Erekat: Lieberman is the real president of Palestine

February 20, 2018 at 11:52 am

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman [Avigdor Liberman/Facebook]

Senior Palestinian Liberation Organisation official Saeb Erekat has expressed pessimism as to the likelihood of a two-state solution and the negotiation efforts of the Palestinian Authority (PA), according to the Arab news agency Assabeel.

“I think that the real president of the Palestinian people is the [Israeli] Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and the Palestinian prime minister is the coordinator [of Government Affairs in the Occupied Territories], Poly Mordechai,” Erekat said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2.

“Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] cannot move from Ramallah without permission from Mordechai and Lieberman.”

Erekat was similarly doubtful at the proposed two-state solution as the answer to the conflict stating: “The Palestinian street began to refuse this idea because it sees it as unrealistic in light of the growing settlements.”

Erekat, 62, has served as chief negotiator since 1996, having acted as a Palestinian delegate in numerous international conferences including the landmark Oslo Accords of 1993.

Erekat: US under Trump has lost role as Mideast mediator

The PA has come under heavy criticism in recent months over its detention of critics of its policies and its continued security coordination with Israeli forces.

Despite having initially stated that the PA had cut all contact with the US following President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, last week a senior PA official clarified that communication was ongoing, although political dialogue had been scaled back.

Earlier this month, it was also revealed that the PA had collaborated with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to spy on other Palestinian figures who were opponents and rivals of Abbas.

The document alleges that three Palestinian security personnel formed an electronic surveillance unit in mid-2014 and monitored the phone calls of thousands of Palestinians, senior figures in the Palestinian factions and even judges, lawyers, civil society leaders and politicians.

A survey last year found that some 67 per cent of Palestinians want Abbas to resign, with nearly two-thirds believing that the proposed two-state solution was no longer feasible because of Israel’s continued settlement expansion.

Read: PLO prepares to boycott US goods over Jerusalem decision