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Regarding the Palestine Papers - Saeb Erekat

Jan. 24, 2011 6:34 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 28, 2011 9:12 P.M.)
In the past few hours, a number of reports have surfaced regarding our positions in our negotiations with Israel, many of which have misrepresented our positions, taking statements and facts out of context.

Other allegations circulated in the media have been patently false. But any accurate representation of our positions will show that we have consistently stood by our people’s basic rights and international legal principles.

Indeed, our position has been the same for the past 19 years of negotiations: We seek to establish a sovereign and independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and to reach a just solution to the refugee issue based on their international legal rights, including those set out in UNGA 194.

What an accurate record will show is that we have insisted that any solution be grounded in principles of international law, which Israel has consistently refused to accept or recognize.

Even though many ideas have been discussed by the two sides as part of the normal negotiations process, including some we could never agree to, we have consistently said any proposed agreement would have to gain popular support through a national referendum.

No agreement will be signed without the approval of the Palestinian people.

The main issue remains that Israel continues to colonize our land, denying the rights of the Palestinian people, and in particular our refugees. These issues must be addressed and our rights must be respected.

That can only happen with genuine commitment on the part of Israel, first and foremost, but also that of the international community which must help us achieve a regional peace based on principles of international law.

Saeb Erekat is the chief negotiator of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
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