Saeb Erekat
Saeb ErekatFlash 90

Ever-accommodating, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz accommodated Palestinian Authority (PA) chief negotiator Sa'eb Erekat by taking down an Israeli flag, after he made clear that he would not speak at the paper's New York conference. The flag had been draped across the stage, behind the speaker's podium – which made sense, as Ha'aretz is an Israeli newspaper.

Erekat was having none of it. He demanded that event organizers take the flag down as his price for gracing the event with his comments – and they complied, upon which Erekat agreed to make his prepared speech.

The speech itself was a rehashing of the usual themes, such as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's “ruining of the peace process and the two-state solution with his attempts to institute an apartheid state,” and similar ideas. A Palestinian state is the only solution to “the conflict,” Erekat said. “To all those who want a solution other than the two-state solution, I ask – what are your plans for me? What are you doing to do about me?”

Erekat also praised the European Union for its decision to mark products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria as such. About ISIS, he said that the Islamist group “has no connection to Islam. It is a gang of criminals and bullies.”

Erekat also rejected criticism that the PA was not fighting anti-Israel incitement. “It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between incitement and freedom of expression,” he said. “We try to fix the mistakes we make.”