Photo Credit: Marc Müller via Wikimedia
Saeb Erekat with a friend

Erekat: Kushner, Greenblatt, Want to Destroy the Palestinian Authority

Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee and the Palestinian Authority’s chief peace negotiator, on Saturday told Voice of Palestine radio that the two Trump representatives Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt plan is “bringing down the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.”

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Erekat suggested that the Trump administration wants to sideline UNRWA, whose role is to perpetuate the refugee issue, thereby eliminating the main claim of the PLO to a Palestinian State: “They want to terminate the role of UNRWA by proposing direct aid to the countries hosting the Palestinian refugees and sideline the UN agency,” and “on top of this, they are planning financial aid to the Gaza Strip worth one billion dollars for projects, also separate from UNRWA and under the title of solving a humanitarian crisis. All this is actually aimed at liquidating the issue of the Palestinian refugees,” Erekat argued.

Erekat said Netanyahu told the US envoys during their Friday’s meeting that he was ready to provide for Gaza’s needs from the taxes and customs Israel collects on behalf of the PA.

“The goal behind this is to sustain the [2006 Hamas] coup and keep Gaza separated from the West Bank on the way to creating a mini-state in Gaza while bringing down the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank,” Erekat said.

Erekat told his listeners that Greenblatt had advocated in a recent article changing the PA political system by overthrowing the regime of Chairman Mahmoud Abbas “because they insist on holding on to the national constants and rights of the Palestinian people.”

Of course, Greenblatt didn’t quite say that. His op-ed, “The Palestinians Deserve So Much More Than Saeb Erekat,” he wrote: “It is time to stop indulging in overwrought rhetoric and give the Palestinian people something beyond words. Palestinian leadership must create better lives, not sacrifice those lives for Hamas’ grim agenda of terror.”

“Dr. Erekat – we have heard your voice for decades and it has not achieved anything close to Palestinian aspirations or anything close to a comprehensive peace agreement,” Greenblatt wrote. “Other Palestinian perspectives might help us finally achieve a comprehensive peace agreement where Palestinian and Israeli lives can be better. The time for leadership and responsibility is now. The time for meeting after meeting of government officials repeating the same talking points is over. The Palestinian people want real action, and they need honest, realistic and decisive solutions.”

So, the envoy did not advocate the overthrow of the PA leadership – but he did say the people in the PA deserved better leaders. Perhaps in PLO land this is tantamount to calling for a putsch.

Meanwhile, Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said on Saturday that American ideas or deals that bypass the PA leadership’s position on Jerusalem, statehood and refugees will only lead to a dead-end. “The American delegation should abandon the illusion that creating false facts and falsifying history are going to help it sell those illusions,” he said.

“What is required after the end of the US delegation’s tours to the region is for the American administration to understand the need to stop pursuing imaginary political alternatives and projects aimed at splitting the Palestinian homeland to prevent the establishment of our Palestinian state,” the spokesman stressed.

Which means they are seriously concerned over in Ramallah about President Trump’s apparent plan to go over their heads to the people and give them what they need: prosperity. Or, as Abu Rudeineh put it, “There are things that cannot be weighed with gold and humanitarian aid, or solutions that try to cut from a more than 100-year-old historical conflict.”

Maybe, maybe not.

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