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Palestinians threaten to declare statehood with UN backing

Sunday, November 15, 2009 Israel Today Staff

Despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's repeated requests to restart direct peace talks, senior Palestinian officials at the weekend declared that Israel does not want to reach an accord, and threatened to unilaterally declare Palestinian independence.

"Israel is continuing the occupation and is not prepared to return to the negotiating table," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Israel's Army Radio. "We're fed up with your time-wasting. We don't believe that you really want a two-state solution."

Netanyahu has in fact implemented a freeze on all new building in Judea and Samaria, the so-called "West Bank," a move US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised as unprecedented and certainly not a precondition for peace talks.

Erekat said the Palestinian Authority is considering approaching the UN Security Council about recognizing a Palestinian declaration of independence in all of Judea and Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem.

Netanyahu was expected to reject that initiative at a conference in Jerusalem on Sunday, where sources said he would remind the Palestinians that such a declaration would be opposed, both diplomatically and on the ground, despite UN backing.