JERUSALEM, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Palestinian leaders Sunday chided Israel over efforts to block a proposal to ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.
Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the U.N. proposal was not a demand for the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state and ouster of Israeli settlements.
"If we win recognition, we don't believe that the settlements will be automatically removed or that Israeli provocations and crimes would stop," Erekat told The Jerusalem Post. "The only difference is that Palestine will become a state that is occupied by another member of the U.N. This means that the final-status negotiations would be only over working out a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal.
"This is just a step on a long road and its goal is not to de-legitimize or isolate anyone," he said. "Rather, it's intended to de-legitimize the occupation."
Erekat and other Palestinian Authority officials said President Mahmoud Abbas was within his right to take his proposal to the United Nations and called Israel's efforts to block the proposal "hysterical."