PA chief negotiator Sa’eb Erekat reacted today to President Obama’s State of the Union address in an interview with the Voice of Palestine.
Obama stated during his speech that “the US will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace”.
In stead of embracing Obama’s wish to establish a lasting peace, Arekat attacked the US President and said his words were rhetoric.
He also said that there is a horrible defect in Arab-US ties. The PLO leader stated that if Obama wants his visit to the Middle East to be a success ‘his assignment should include meeting the requirements of peace including a halt of settlement actions, the release of detainees and that Netanyahu accepts the two-state solution on the pre-1967 border’.
Meanwhile Palestinian media reported that President Abbas received American promises yesterday of the resumption of financial support to the PA.
A source in the PA said the US consul general Michael Ratney reaffirmed his country’s desire to help the PA overcome its financial crisis through resuming financial support before President Obama’s visit to the region next month.
The same source said the US consul also said his country would pressure Arab and donor countries to commit to their obligations towards the PA and not to allow it to collapse. Palestinian sources say the US State Department is working to convince Congress to approve the release of around $700 million in aid to the Palestinians for last and this year including $200 million in direct support to the budget. (source: Al Quds)
Below is the full interview with Erekat, in which he also attacked Israel’s finance minister Yuval Steinitz for not releasing tax revenues to the PA.
He called that an ‘unprecedented level of slump in the history of human kinds’.
Q: in his annual speech to the nation, president Obama has reaffirmed US commitment to the security of Israel without making any reference to the two-state solution.
A: It was not surprising to discover that Israel is integral part of the US politics and that we as Arab have failed to speak with Washington with the language of interests which is the only language it can command. This US rhetoric will never change as long as Arabs continue not speaking this language. I hope each Arab person would desert the useless language of slogans and focus on the language of interests.
I am not calling on waging a war against the USA or to boycott it. However, how can one account this rhetoric when taking into consideration the US interests in the region and the fact that there are 250 thousands US soldiers in our region? The only explanation is there is a horrible defect in the Arab-US ties.
Anyhow, ignoring issues does not mean eliminating them. Peace is a higher US interest and president Obama did not wake up one morning feeling guilty about the Palestinian people`s plight and subsequently voiced support to the two-state solution. He did that because this solution represents a genuine higher US interest.
If The USA looks for peace, stability, prosperity and democracy in the region, it would not accomplish any of these before totally drying the quagmire of the Israeli occupation. If president Obama`s wants his next visit in the region to succeed, his assignment should include meeting the requirements of peace including a halt of settlement actions, the release of detainees and that Netanyahu accepts the two-state solution on the pre-1967 border.
When Netanyahu speaks about the two-state solution without mentioning the pre-1967 border, he actually is continuing with his deceits and maneuvers.
Q: The Israeli finance minister Steinitz sent a message to the Palestinian side saying: “if you want tax revenues you should reconsider national reconciliation and resorting to the ICC”. How would you comment on this?
A: Steinitz was speaking according to the ethical codes of the occupation, in total harmony with the corruption and slump of the occupation. I believe he has exposed the true face to the lowest degree of slump that the occupation has reached.
He is practicing exaction and piracy in public and wants to give orders to the Palestinians what they should do and what they should not. He is telling the Palestinian people, while your are seeking national unity which is a higher national interest for you, we will punish you on that by continuing withholding your money, adding if you want to defend yourself from crimes committed by the Israeli army and settlers we will also continue withholding your money.
This is an unprecedented level of slump in the history of human kinds which is totally unacceptable to us.