Palestinian leaders contradict each other

Dec. 20, 2010 at 9:41 PM
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JERUSALEM, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Authority's president Monday rebuked the group's prime minister for contradicting him on unilateral statehood recognition, observers said.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad opposed the group's intention to unilaterally pursue recognition of statehood from the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly, while its president, Mahmoud Abbas, said the group is determined to seek a non-negotiated, one-sided statehood based on 1967 borders, The Jerusalem Post reported.

"We are looking for a state of Palestine, not a unilateral declaration of statehood," Fayyad said, adding the Arabs do not wish to have a "Mickey Mouse" state.

But Yasser Abed Rabbo, a Palestinian Liberation Organization official and Abbas adviser, said the organization's leaders "are working to ensure the backing of as many countries as possible (for the unilateral declaration) before the next session of the U.N. General Assembly."

Abed Rabbo also criticized the United States for opposing a unilateral statehood declaration, the Post reported.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem cabled its embassies with instructions to thwart such unilateral moves on the part of the Arabs.

"There is no substitute for direct negotiations," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy said, adding establishing Palestinian sovereignty is not akin to asking Facebook users to mark a favorite page.

The Palestinians said they will not negotiate with Israel until it halts construction of residence buildings in the West Bank and East Jerusalem areas of Israel.

An Israel official said the Palestinians can best attain statehood by returning to negotiations.

"The Palestinians have to make a clear choice between meaningless declarative statements or meaningful negotiations with Israel," the official said.

The Palestinians simultaneously say they don't want to negotiate with Israel and that they must seek the help of the international community because negotiations aren't working, the official said, adding, "It is a logically inconsistent position."

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