Ma'an News Agency
July 1, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Presidential adviser Nimir Hammad said Thursday that Palestinian leaders would delay the September bid for UN recognition of a Palestinian state, if Israel agrees to negotiations based on a French peace initiative.

In an exclusive interview with Ma’an, the political adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas said the leadership are preparing the text for the declaration that will presented to the UN in September, should talks not go ahead.

It will include, he said, references to Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, and UN resolutions 242 and 194 on the return of Palestinian refugees and establishment of a state based on territories prior to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967.

Abbas accepted in June an initiative by France to relaunch stalled negotiations.

The fresh push for talks based on 1967 borders and an end to settlement building could hold off the UN statehood bid, Hammad told Ma’an.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not rejected the initiative, Hammad said, but asked for more time to discuss the proposal, referring to comments by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for a July Palestinian donor conference in Paris to re-start a peace initiative between Palestinians and Israelis.

Hammad added that the Washington meeting of the Middle East Quartet -- representing Russia, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States -- on September 7 , could “convince us to negotiate, and then we will stop the move to go to the UN.”

The Quartet meeting would come just days before the bid was submitted to the UN, he noted.

The last round of peace talks collapsed in September 2010 when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a partial moratorium on settlement building.

Hammad had brushed off Tuesday's US Senate resolution warning Palestinians they could face cuts in US aid for pursuing UN recognition without talks with Israel, telling AFP on Thursday the US move was "blindly biased toward Israel."

"We reject this decision and the Palestinian people will not succumb to such pressure and attempts."

|52414* Nimir Hammad appears in a TV interview with Ma’an on August 5, 2008 [MaanImages/Haitham Othman]|

Israel has warned of the prospect of violence if the Palestinian leadership proceeds to the UN in September, which Hammad called “exaggeration.”

“We have no fears of the situation exploding,” he said. “We only care about building the largest possible international support.”

Hammad said a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising, “serves Israel’s interest and will draw the world’s attention away from us.”

But he lauded the non-violent demonstrations such as the protests against Israel’s separation wall taking place in the West Bank village on Bilin, saying “this style of struggle will serve our interests.”

Hammad also commented on the delay in forming a unity government between former rival factions Hamas and the President’s party, Fatah, saying that the Gaza Strip rulers were “procrastinating.”

Disagreement over the reappointment of West Bank Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to the new government is widely regarded as behind the hold up.

Appointing Fayyad, Hammad said, would reduce the damage of Israel’s campaign against unity between the factions. The state had warned Abbas to choose between “peace with Israel, and peace with Hamas.”

Abbas “insists on Salam Fayyad, but Hamas is giving excuses and is opposing him,” Hammad told Ma’an.

“Although Fayyad is not the reason as much as Hamas is relying on changes in the region and making delays,” he continued.

If no agreement is reached on the new unity cabinet, Hammad said, the “current government will continue with its work with some adjustments,” denying reports that the new government was put back until after the UN statehood bid in September.


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