Palestinian Authority lays out peace steps

July 5, 2011 at 7:20 AM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, July 5 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Authority says it will drop its plan to ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state if Israel withdraws to pre-1967 boundaries.

Nimer Hammad, a political adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said plans to appeal to the United Nations in September would be called off if a quartet of international negotiators recognize the two-state plan as a basis for a settlement and called on Israel to pull out of territories captured in 1967, including East Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

Hammad said the Quartet on the Middle East -- the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- also should call for an end of construction in Jewish settlements and lay out a clear timetable for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Quartet representatives will meet July 11 in Washington to discuss the stalled Middle East peace process.

"The Palestinian Authority is determined to proceed with its plan to go to the U.N. Security Council if Israel continues to deny the rights of the Palestinians and international legitimacy," Hammad said. "But if the Quartet endorses the two-state solution and demands a freeze on settlement construction, we will change our mind."

Palestinian Liberation Organization negotiator Saeb Erekat said Monday Palestinians would return to the negotiating table with Israel if Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accepts the two-state solution based on pre-1967 lines and ends construction not only in the West Bank, but also in East Jerusalem.

Israel has rejected similar demands, and Netanyahu Monday said his position hasn't changed, the Post said.

"If a one-sided anti-Israel resolution goes through, it will set back peace for decades," Netanyahu said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed hope the Quartet meeting will create a chance for direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to resume, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

"We have strong hope that decisions made during the Washington meeting of the Quartet will help create circumstances for the resumption of the talks aimed at creating an independent, integral, sovereign and democratic Palestinian state to live in peace and security alongside Israel," Lavrov said in Moscow during meetings with a visiting Palestinian delegation.

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