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Palestinians stick to establishing state on 1967 territories

05-24-2011 11:04 BJT

GAZA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Senior Palestinian leaders on Monday stressed that they are sticking to the borders of 1967 as a reference to the peace negotiations with Israel, a clear position made as Israel declared its full opposition to withdraw to the borders of the Palestinian territories it occupied in 1967 war.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that "Israel's recognition of 1967 borders as the borders of the two states is the only condition to achieve peace in the region," adding that establishing a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital "would give a guarantee to the two-state vision."

Erekat, who met on Monday with foreign diplomats, accused Israel of choosing the past on the expense of the future. "It chose settlement instead of peace and dictations instead of negotiations, and rejected the principle of the two-state vision based on 1967 borders," he said.

The Palestinian officials declined to comment on the disputes reportedly between Israel and the U.S. concerning the borders of 1967, although they are seeking a firm U.S. position and an Israeli commitment to this vision.

However, disputes were clear between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the latter refused to accept the 1967 borders as the borders of the Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

Obama, in his Middle East speech on Thursday, claimed that any agreement on establishing a Palestinian state has to be based on 1967 borders with minor territory exchange, which should be negotiated.

Mohamed Ishteya, a Palestinian negotiator said the Palestinian side is ready to get back immediately to the negotiation table with Israel in case Israel accepts the 1967 borders and the full stop of settlement building.

He told Voice of Palestine Radio that the Israel's approval to build 294 units in the city of Jerusalem and the readiness to approve more units "is a practical Israeli response to Obama's speech and his calls on the two sides to resume the talks."

The Palestinian official demanded "an international intervention to block Israel and its settlement policy because its policy prove that Israel is not seeking peace."

The Palestinian leadership is preparing for a decisive meeting on Wednesday to clearly respond to Obama's speech and the Israeli stances on Saturday when a meeting of the Arab League Follow-up Committee will be held in Doha on the same day.

Meanwhile, Gaza's ruling Islamic Hamas movement on Sunday slammed Obama and said the U.S. is not a friend of the people in the region any more.

Sami Abu Zuhri, the movement's spokesman in Gaza said in a statement that although Obama clarified that the borders of Israel and the Palestinian state have to be the borders of 1967, an exchange of territories means that the new borders will be different from the borders of 1967.

"Obama's speech is completely biased and on the expense of the Palestinian people's freedom and self-determination," said Abu Zuhri.

Editor:Shi Jierui |Source: Xinhua

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