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Erakat hopes for Palestinian statehood in 4 years

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Palestinian negotiator says he hopes Obama’s re-election would mean the creation of a Palestinian state in the next four years


US President Bill Clinton standing between PLO leader Yasser Arafat as he shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzahk Rabin. (J. David Ake / AFP / Getty Images)

AFP- Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat yesterday said he hoped that US President Barack Obama’s re-election would mean the creation of a Palestinian state in the next four years.
“We hope that a Palestinian state will be implemented in Obama’s next term,” he said, without specifically welcoming Obama’s re-election.
Erakat pointed out that Israel had announced new settlement tenders as Americans were going to the polls on Tuesday, and called on Obama to take swift action to prevent continuing Israeli settlement activity.
He also urged the new administration to back Palestinian plans to seek enhanced status at the UN General Assembly, where they are expected to request non-member status later this month.
“We hope Obama will stop settlements immediately and not stop the Palestinians from going to the UN to get non-member status because non-member status will protect the peace process and the two-state solution,” Erakat said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Obama, saying he hoped “Obama continues his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East”, official news agency Wafa said.
But expectations on the Palestinian side remain low. Washington last year helped sink a Palestinian bid for UN membership at the Security Council and punished Unesco by withdrawing funding after it admitted Palestine.
“There’s nothing that would make us optimistic,” a Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP. “So far we have no indication there will be a change in his policy.”
He said the Palestinians had delayed their latest UN bid until after the elections to help Obama.
“We did him a favour and we hope he will remember that.”
But the administration has already said it opposes the new bid for non-member status, and its efforts to relaunch the peace process have so far fallen flat.
Direct negotiations have been on hold since late September 2010.


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