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Erekat: We want to hear from Trump – Arab-Israeli Conflict

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SENIOR PLO OFFICIAL Saeb Erekat speaks to reporters about Israeli appropriation of West Bank land, near Jericho last year..
(photo credit:REUTERS)

PLO official Saeb Erekat told a press conference in his hometown of Jericho on Wednesday that he would like to hear from the US administration directly rather than through media reports.

“Regarding President Donald Trump’s administration, we told them that we want to hear from you and not about you, and we want you all to hear us and not hear about us,” he said.

Erekat, who is PLO Executive Committee secretary-general and one of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s closest advisers, said that the Palestinian leadership firmly backs the two-state solution. “As I said today, the state of Palestine’s and the PLO’s choice is the state of Palestine living next to the State of Israel along 1967 borders. The two-state option is the only option.”

However, Erekat said that if Israel does not allow for a twostate solution, there will be no choice but to embrace a single state.

“If the Israeli government believes it can replace the twostate option with an apartheid state with two regimes, [it should know] that [such an option] is not possible in the 21st century. If they destroy the two-state solution, the option in front of them is the one-state option,” Erekat said.

“We hope that President Trump tells the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu ‘enough of settlement and one-sided moves,’ and reaffirms the position of the past successive US administration that the solution is represented in the two-state option.”

For Palestinians, the notion of a US retreat from the internationally backed goal of a “Palestine” existing alongside Israel was alarming.

“If the Trump administration rejects this policy, it would destroy the chances for peace and undermine American interests, standing and credibility abroad,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the PLO. “Accommodating the most extreme and irresponsible elements in Israel and in the White House is no way to make responsible foreign policy.”

Husam Zomlot, strategic affairs adviser to Abbas, noted that Palestinian statehood has long been at the heart of international peace efforts.

“The two-state solution is not something we just came up with. It is an international consensus and decision after decades of Israel’s rejection of the one-state democratic formula,” Zomlot said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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