Erekat: US efforts to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian talks hit 'dead end'
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said today that Obama's efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have hit a dead end. His comments reflect dwindling Palestinian hopes for a two-state solution.
The White House has hit a wall in its attempts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a senior Palestinian official said Tuesday.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures The Israeli separation barrier: A West Bank wall
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Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said that recent US efforts to get the two sides back to the negotiating table – or at least nearby tables as part of proximity talks – had reached a "dead end."
"It appears that all the consultations that have happened with the Israeli government and the American administration and other states have reached a dead end, with Israeli positions insisting on a continuation of settlement," Dr. Erekat said on the Voice of Palestine Radio today.
As Palestinians have become increasingly disillusioned with a negotiated two-state solution, they have gravitated toward two main alternatives: unilaterally declare statehood, or back a "one-state solution" in which a common border and higher Arab birthrates would force Israel to become either non-Jewish or non-democratic.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman today warned Palestinians against the first option – declaring independence unilaterally – saying that in response Israel could annex part of the West Bank or back out of peace agreements including the Oslo Accords.
Obama unable to extract concessions from Israel
Relations between Jerusalem and Washington have been tense since March, when the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to build 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem.
Mr. Netanyahu and President Barack Obama tried to resolve their differences during several tense meetings two weeks ago, but did not come to an agreement. Mr. Obama has asked Netanyahu for written pledges that would confirm Israel's commitment to advancing talks with the Palestinians through a series of confidence-building measures; Israel has not formally replied to this request