Erekat to Present US with 'Timetable' for Judea-Samaria Pullout
Chief Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator Saeb Erekat will present plans to US Secretary of State John Kerry with a timetable for Israel's pullout from Judea and Samaria, PA-affiliated sources told Lebanese news site Ya Libnan Tuesday.
Erekat and PA "Intelligence Minister" Majid Faraj will hold a series of meetings with senior officials in Washington, the sources said, in which they will press the case for "two states for two peoples."
The discussions with 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 familiar with the plan due to be presented.
Hours later, the State Department confirmed that Kerry will meet with Palestinian negotiators on Wednesday in Washington to discuss various issues, including the Gaza ceasefire and peace talks.
Twenty-four hours beforehand, Kerry will speak to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by telephone first, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
"I think they'll talk about a range of issues. There's obviously an ongoing ceasefire discussion and upcoming negotiations that will take place. There's a range of longer-term issues," Psaki said Tuesday without going into detail.
Pressure mounts on Israel
Aides to Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas revealed recently that he will soon appeal to the international community to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw back to the pre-1967 borders and make way for an independent Palestinian state.
In an interview with Palestinian TV last week, Abbas also claimed that both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the US agreed for a "state along '67 lines" [1949 Armistice lines - ed.] and that "it should take about half an hour" to draw the borders.
“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.”
Abbas then threatened to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it did not present such a plan by the end of the year. The US strongly condemned the move, saying "it will badly damage the atmosphere with the very people with whom they ultimately need to make peace."
In April, the PA requested to join 15 international agencies in breach of the conditions of the peace talks that were going on with Israel at that time.
In response, Israel cancelled the fourth terrorist release "gesture" and subsequently pulled out of the talks altogether, after the PA signed a unity pact with Hamas.
Nearly two years ago, in 2012, the PA unilaterally turned to the United Nations and received recognition as a non-member observer state by the General Assembly. Since then, the PA has threatened several times that if peace talks fail, it would turn to international institutions and seek to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court.