Tovah Lazaroff
The Jerusalem Post
October 26, 2010 - 12:00am

United Nations Special Middle East Peace Negotiator Robert H. Serry told Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Tuesday that the UN will a support the declaration of an independent Palestinian state. Serry spoke to Fayyad while the two picked olives together near the West Bank village of Turmus'ayyeh, close to the Israeli settlement of Shiloh.

"All international players are now in agreement that the Palestinians are ready for statehood at any point in the near future," said Serry. He continued, "We are in the homestretch of your [Fayyad's] agenda to reach that point by August next year and you have our full support."

Serry's remark came in reference to Fayyad's declared goal of achieving an independent Palestinian state by the summer of 2011 by incrementally building up national institutions in the West Bank to prepare Palestinians to successfully manage their own affairs. Fayyad stated that he set the two-year time frame for statehood back in August 2009.

During the press event, Fayyad also called upon Israel to prevent settlers from committing crimes against Palestinian civilians, referring to a number of incidents that occured in the West Bank over the past several weeks.
Fayyad compared the violent acts of extremist Israeli settlers to terrorism in his comments.

Tuesday's olive picking event was held to mark United Nations Week, which commemorates the 65th anniversary of the creation of the UN in 1945.


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