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'We are closer to Palestinian state than ever,' claims Erekat

The Secretary of the PLO's Executive Committee claimed on Wednesday that a Palestinian state is "closer than ever," Al-Wattan Voice has reported. Saeb Erekat also accused the US administration of being involved in a "war" against the Palestinian national aspirations and against the PLO, Fatah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"The US administration is carrying out the deal of the century and closing the PLO's office in Washington is part of the deal," Erekat told Palestine TV. "We are closer to the Palestinian state than ever. All attempts by [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu to plant despair among us have failed. No state without Gaza and no state in Gaza."

Regarding the Palestinian relationship with Israel, the veteran negotiator said that Abbas is to propose several issues for the international community to consider when he delivers his speech before the UN General Assembly on 27 September. The PA leader will also have discussions with international parties on the sidelines of the meeting.

The two-state solution: Decline or death?

Erekat pointed out that Abbas would not surrender to American "extortion" as he had issued his directions to turn the issue of Israel's demolition of the village of Khan Al-Ahmar to the International Criminal Court. He noted that the US State Department told the PLO that its office was closed because of the move at the ICC.

After the ICC, said Erekat, the Palestinians will turn to the UN at the appropriate time and will continue to seek full membership for Palestine. "We are the head of Group 77 by November 2019 and we will seek raised Palestinian representation and will continue with the UN Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice."

With regards to peace talks, he said that the US wants to bring the Palestinians to the table without Jerusalem, refugees and two-state solution, and with legalised Israeli settlement, as well as the separation of Gaza from the West Bank.

As far as Palestinian reconciliation is concerned, he insisted that, "Abbas is ready for the full, precise, but gradual implementation of everything agreed in October 2017."

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