Senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials told Haaretz on Tuesday they are concerned that the U.S. administration may seek to modify the French peace initiative to avert a risk of bringing international pressure to bear on Israel to negotiate on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.
The officials told the newspaper that the same American pressure seen as having moderated criticism of Israel in a Quartet report released last week, could happen too, in the case of the French initiative.
On June 3, France hosted a summit of foreign ministers in Paris who discussed ways in which the international community could "help advance the prospects for peace, including by providing meaningful incentives to the parties to make peace."
Israel has rejected the initiative and insists that the only way to achieve peace is through direct talks with the PA.
“The French initiative is the only game now on the diplomatic field concerning the conflict with Israel, so we are adopting it and acting for it to succeed. But it is clear that the Americans will not lend a hand to this," a senior PA official told Haaretz on Tuesday.
"Despite all the declarations of senior [U.S.] administration officials, the fear is that in the moment of truth the initiative will not entail any measure that could pressure Israel, and that it will become another one of many documents that have not advanced the process over the past two decades,” the official added.
Since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the Palestinians have not succeeded in passing a single United Nations Security Council or any other international resolution, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization said Monday at a press conference in Ramallah.
He spoke shortly after the PLO executive committee debated the Quartet's report at a meeting in Ramallah.
Erekat added the PA may seek again to promote a Security Council resolution condemning the “settlements”, but that such a decision would require consultations with Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
The PA has been attempting for years to embarrass Israel and have it condemned by the UN.
In 2014, the PA submitted a resolution to the UN which called for Israel to “end the occupation” – that is, to withdraw from Judea and Samaria – by 2017. The resolution was put to a vote in the UN Security Council, but failed to secure enough votes in favor to pass.
And earlier this year, it circulated a draft resolution that would deem Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria “illegal” and “an obstacle” to a peace deal based on two states living side by side within agreed borders.
Erekat in his remarks strongly criticized the Quartet’s report and said, according to Haaretz, “If the goal of the report was for the Palestinians to accept the existing situation and aspire only to improve the economic state, then this is a mistaken goal and we reject it outright. The problems and human and economic distress of the Palestinian people stem from the occupation, so the solution is the end of the occupation.”
Officials close to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Israel is trying to portray him as a supporter of terrorism and incitement, solely for political reasons. They rejected criticism about Abbas not condemning last week’s terrorist attacks, saying Israel is busier with declarative matters and less with the policies to prevent violence.
A senior PLO figure told Haaretz that it is not the job of Abbas or the Palestinian Authority to condemn each attack.
“In Israel, they are well aware of the fact that behind all the incidents stand young people who made decisions on their own. This is not a hierarchical organization and [Abbas] has made his position clear concerning violence at a number of opportunities,” according to the official.