JERUSALEM, April 26 (UPI) -- Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinian Authority will not return to the negotiating table with Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made remarks before his re-election indicating there would be no Palestinian state on his watch.
"If the prime minister doesn't want to accept a Palestinian state, what will I talk to him about?" Erekat told members of the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem on Sunday, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Erekat was referring to a statement made by the Israeli prime minister just a day before he was re-elected last month.
An interviewer with Israeli news site NRG at the time asked Netanyahu whether it was true that a Palestinian state would never exist if he were prime minister. "Indeed," Netanyahu said, adding that anyone who did establish such a state would be "simply giving a base for attacks to the radical Islam against Israel."
Critics said the remarks, as well as warnings that "Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls," were intended to galvanize Israel's conservative base on the eve of voting. Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party beat the center-left Zionist Union coalition, led by Isaac Herzog, in a tight race.
"I don't want a one-state solution," Netanyahu told NBC News in a March 19 interview. "I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution."
At the time Erekat indicated his belief in Netanyahu's pre-election stance and said the PA would seek Palestinian statehood through international efforts with the United Nations and Western powers rather than through negotiations with Israel.
The Palestinian Central Council will meet Wednesday, April 29, to redefine its relationship and economic and security cooperation with Israel, Erekat said on Sunday.