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Erekat: Israel wants to 'get rid' of Abbas

June 1, 2013 7:53 P.M. (Updated: June 2, 2013 8:51 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Senior PLO official Saeb Erekat said Saturday that Israel wants to "get rid" of President Abbas.

"Israel says that Abbas is not a partner for peace, because he holds onto the rights of Palestinians," Erekat told Dubai TV.

US Secretary of State John Kerry must pressure Israel to accept the two-state solution, stop settlement building, and release Palestinian prisoners, he added.

If Kerry's initiative for peace fails, Palestinians will seek membership of a number of organizations, including the International Criminal Court, the PLO official said.

Erekat also criticized Iran for dividing the Palestinians by not supporting unity, adding that reconciliation may be hindered by the years of conflict and economic issues like the tunnel trade.

The Palestinian Authority wants a total freeze on Israeli settlement construction before it resumes peace talks with Israel, which have been stalled for almost three years.

On Thursday, NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem said Israel was preparing to build 1,100 new settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

Erekat said the decision was "destroying" Kerry's peace efforts.
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