Top Palestinian Negotiator Lauds Kerry Peace Push and Blast's Israel 'Apartheid'

Saab Erekat Calls for Talks To End Occupation

Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace push got a crucial boost from the Palestinians. But chief negotiator
getty images
Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace push got a crucial boost from the Palestinians. But chief negotiator

By Reuters

Published May 20, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

The top Palestinian negotiator with Israel on Monday threw his weight behind U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s bid to revive stalled peace talks, while describing the situation in the West Bank as apartheid worse than that suffered in South Africa.

Kerry is due to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah on Thursday and Friday. U.S.-brokered peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel broke down in 2010 in a dispute over continuing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told a U.N. committee in New York on Monday that a settlement freeze and the release of Palestinian prisoners were not conditions for returning to negotiations, but rather obligations that Israel must fulfill.

“We have no conditions to resume negotiations,” Erekat told the committee on rights of the Palestinian people, which was created by the U.N. General Assembly in 1975.

“Make no mistake we are exerting every possible effort in order to see that Mr. Kerry succeeds. No one benefits more from the success of Secretary Kerry than Palestinians and no one loses more from his failure than Palestinians,” Erekat said.

He said that in the past two months Kerry had met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas five times, Erekat three times and that the three spoke by phone almost weekly.

“Mr. Kerry is keeping things (close to) his chest. He likes to work very, very, very below the radar and grow things like mushrooms,” Erekat said. “We did everything … in order to enable him to succeed. He is not going to wait for years or months actually, he’s working very hard.”

Palestinians seek to establish a state in the West Bank and Gaza, where about 2.7 million Palestinians live, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Some 500,000 Israelis have settled in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

CHANCE FOR PEACE

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected any Israeli return to the lines that existed before Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war, calling those boundaries indefensible.

“Today in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem … I can sum up the situation with one word - apartheid. Worse than that which existed in South Africa,” Erekat said. “Today Israel justifies its apartheid by the term security.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.