Saud Abu Ramadan

December 6, 2010 - 1:00am

A senior Palestinian official announced on Sunday that dissolving the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is an option, but will not be taken for the time being, while the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement slammed Hamas for accepting a referendum in case of a peace deal with Israel.

Nabil Shaath, member of the Palestinian negotiation team said in a press statement emailed to reporters that dissolving the PNA might be carried out only when the Middle East peace process with Israel collapses, "but it is not planned for now."

"President Mahmoud Abbas had stated that all options are open and possible in response to the standstill in the peace process and he doesn't speak about dissolving the PNA right now," said Shaath, one day after Abbas threatened to dissolve the PNA if the peace process fails.

Abbas said on Saturday in an interview with the state-run Palestinian satellite Television that his dignity won't allow him "to keep being the chairman of an authority that doesn't exist, because practically we do not exist. If they want to keep the occupation, then Israel will be fully responsible."

The direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which were launched in Washington on Sept. 2 and suspended on Oct. 2, are still stalled despite the United States, which is the main sponsor for the peace process, attempts to convince Israel to halt settlement construction.

The Palestinians decided to halt the talks with Israel, after the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a ten-month moratorium over freezing settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. They said no talks before halting settlement.

Abbas and other Palestinian officials had threatened to use other diplomatic options in case Israel keeps insisting not to freeze settlement, among these options is to see an international recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

They said that if all these efforts failed, Abbas would announced that the PNA is dissolved and the West Bank would remain under the Israeli occupation. "President Abbas had exerted every possible effort to rescue the peace process and gave alternatives mainly concerning freezing settlement."

Asked about Brazil's recognition of establishing an independent Palestinian state on the occupied territories, Shaath said "such news is bringing joy and happiness. Brazil had promised us to stand by our side and its leaders did and they will officially recognize a state before January 2011."

Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian official rejected on Sunday the U.S. lawmakers' criticism of the Brazilian decision to recognize the future independent state once it is declared. Saleh Ra'fat had called on the U.S. to avoid making any decision against countries recognizing the Palestinian state.

Ra'fat, member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee told Palestinian Radio "Voice of Palestine" that the U.S. lawmakers' position, who slammed Brazil, "depends on the fact that they are totally supporting Israel and its policy."

"Such positions would encourage Israel to go ahead with settlement and neglect the will of the international community that calls for halting settlement and achieving a permanent and everlasting peace," said Ra'fat, adding that the Brazilian decision "is a positive step."

On Saturday, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Xinhua that the current Palestinian efforts are intensively focusing on demanding an international recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 because this will be an international demand.

"The recent Brazilian declaration of recognizing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state is a very big step. We consider this step a start to get more recognitions from the world's countries of an independent Palestinian state when we request from them to do so," said Erekat.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017