Palestinians to push statehood case with Kerry

Negotiator presents plans calling for a timetable on ending Israel’s occupation

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat presented plans to US secretary of state John Kerry yesterday calling for a timetable on ending Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Palestinian officials said.

Mr Erekat and intelligence chief Majid Faraj are due to hold a series of meetings with senior officials in Washington in which they will press the case for Palestinian statehood, amid frustration after a year of talks between Israel and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas collapsed in April.

The discussions with Mr Kerry will focus on establishing “a timeframe for ending Israel’s occupation to be agreed as soon as possible and not after the end of this year”, said a Palestinian official.

In an interview with Palestinian TV last week, Mr Abbas said it should only take “half an hour or an hour” to delineate the borders of a Palestinian state, since the United States has agreed they should be based on the 1967 borders that existed before the war in which Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem.


“There’s either a political solution or there isn’t,” he said. “But going here and there, up and down, talking and not talking – it’s been 20 years and nothing has happened.”

If there is no agreement on borders in coming months – at least by the end of the year – Mr Abbas said he would have no choice but to push ahead with unilateral statehood moves, a threat he has made before and carried out incrementally.

The first step would be to seek a resolution in the United Nations Security Council calling for a deadline for ending Israel’s 47-year occupation of Palestinian territory.

If it were drafted, such a resolution would probably be vetoed by the United States, which has said it wants only a negotiated solution to the conflict.

Anticipating that veto, the Palestinians say they would then push ahead with plans to join the International Criminal Court, which could open the way for proceedings against Israel. They would also sign up to a range of international treaties and organisations that help denote statehood.

Meanwhile, an attack on a convoy killed 11 members of the Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula yesterday, security and medical sources said. Two were killed by a roadside bomb and the others were shot as they tried to flee.