Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks during his interview with Reuters in the West Bank city of Ramallah August 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Palestinians have never agreed to establish a state with provisional borders

Yossi Beilin is enthusiastic but twists facts. The Palestinian leadership will not entertain the idea of interim borders that would allow Israel to continue its process of annexing occupied territory.

Saeb Erekat

In his opinion piece “Dear Abbas, answer Kerry, and establish a Palestinian state now”, Mr. Yossi Beilin provides several assertions that are not factual, including the allegation that Palestinians had agreed to establish a state with provisional borders in the past. 

While the idea of “provisional borders” was an option according to the Road Map, President Yasser Arafat never accepted this formula. Under President Abbas’ leadership, the PLO never accepted such a formula either. President Abbas never declared the acceptance of this frame to Mr. Beilin. 

While we appreciate the enthusiasm of Mr. Beilin, a man with proven credentials for pursuing the end of the occupation and a sovereign State of Palestine living side by side with the State of Israel, twisting facts is not the way to move forward. 

We have clear concerns based on over 20 years of violated agreements by Israel, and a strong political decision not to entertain the idea of interim borders that would allow Israel to continue its process of annexing occupied territory. 

The main obstacle to achieving a two-state solution is the Israeli occupation, therefore it is Israel, the occupier, that has to be pressured in order to end its occupation. Instead, some opt to pressure the occupied, despite the fact that we have already recognized Israel over 78% of historic Palestine. Asking the Palestinians to “compromise over a compromise” is not a sincere formula to achieve a just and lasting peace. 

The State of Palestine has been bilaterally recognized by 138 states, it has observer state status in the UN, and resolution 67/19 (passed with 138 votes in favor to a mere 9 votes against) recognizes it according to the 1967 border. 

I make use of this opportunity to reiterate our support for the French initiative to have an international peace conference to achieve a just and lasting peace based on international law and relevant UN resolutions, including a free, sovereign and independent State of Palestine on the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution to all final status issues, including for our refugees.

Dr. Saeb Erekat is the PLO Secretary General.