PA: We May Demand Binational Israel-Palestinian State

Information Clearing House

10/08/08 “Reuters” — – Senior Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia said Sunday that the Palestinians may demand to become part of a binational state if Israel continued to reject the borders they propose for a separate country.

Qureia, who heads Palestinian negotiators in U.S.-brokered talks with Israel, told Fatah party loyalists behind closed doors that a two-state solution could be achieved only if Israel met their demands to withdraw from all Palestinian territory in accordance with 1967 borders, a reference to land in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

“The Palestinian leadership has been working on establishing a Palestinian state within the ’67 borders,” Qureia said.

“If Israel continues to oppose making this a reality, then the Palestinian demand for the Palestinian people and its leadership [would be] one state, a binational state,” he added at the meeting held in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Qureia’s comments were carried in a statement issued after the meeting.

The chances of achieving a peace deal before the expiration of Washington’s deadline, when U.S. President George W. Bush leaves office next year, have dimmed since Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced last month he planned to resign in the coming weeks due to multiple corruption investigations underway against him.

Despite the Israeli political crisis, Olmert, who has vowed to pursue peace efforts until he leaves office, met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week. The two are said to be planning additional talks later this month.

But months of discussions have produced little visible progress on key issues of the conflict such as who would control Jerusalem, a city both Israel and the Palestinians want for a capital, and the future for millions of Palestinian refugees.

A Palestinian official said Qureia told Sunday’s gathering he thought the peace talks had hit an impasse.

The unsuccessful efforts to realize the goal of a separate state has touched off debate among Palestinians for months, including as to whether they should seek instead to merge into a joint state with Israel.

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