Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat accused Israel of turning its back on the peace accords long ago, in part with continued settlement construction. He denied the statehood bid was a violation of the agreements.
The accords “spoke about negotiations on all core issues and that is what the resolution at the U.N. is all about, two states based on the (prewar) ‘67 border and negotiations to solve all core issues,” he said.
The United States has been lobbying the Palestinians to abandon the bid. President Barack Obama phoned Abbas on Sunday, but the following day, the Palestinian leader announced it would be submitted on Nov. 29.
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Tuesday that the Obama administration’s special Mideast peace envoy, David Hale, would meet with Abbas on Wednesday in Switzerland to try to persuade him not to go to the General Assembly.
“We’re still at the stage where we’re actively trying to convince them that this is a bad idea, that this is not going to get them the results ultimately that they seek,” Toner said. “We’ve been clear in the past about what some of the consequences that this would generate, or engender.
The date of the Palestinians’ statehood bid has great historical significance. On Nov. 29, 1947, the General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending implementation of a plan to partition what was then British-ruled Palestine into independent Arab and Jewish states. The Jewish community in Palestine accepted the plan, but Arab leaders, including Palestinians, rejected it.
In the West Bank on Wednesday, dozens of Palestinian demonstrators, along with Israeli and foreign supporters, blocked roads used by Jewish settlers. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and reopened the road at one checkpoint between the West Bank and Israel.
Organizers said the protests were meant to mark two dates on the Palestinian calendar: the eighth anniversary of the death of longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the upcoming anniversary of the 1988 decision by the Palestinians to declare independence.