CAIRO: Events in Kosovo seem to have repercussions in the region as Palestinians are considering the idea of declaring statehood for themselves without securing it through an agreement first.
Yasser Abd Rabbo who is a member of the Palestinian negotiating team in the peace process as well as the PLO’s executive committee declared on Thursday that they may consider declaring the state in the case of the current talks failing.
“We can declare the independence unilaterally if the current negotiations fail to achieve results, he told Voice of Palestine radio.
“This is a message to Israel and the international community that we have more than one option and choice, he added.
This isn’t new idea. In 1988 Yasser Arafat declared a Palestinian state in a conference in Tunis but there was no international recognition, not even from the Arabs, so the idea died.
“Declaring a state is no problem, but what matters is the international recognition, Diaa Rashwan from Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies told Daily News Egypt.
“International recognition is not the end all and be all of statehood but it is a vital aspect. In the case of Kosovo, they have secured international recognition, beginning with the US. Can the Palestinians guarantee international recognition? Rashwan added.
The chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei denied that this was being considered as a viable option saying “This option was excluded and has never been discussed among the Palestinian leaders.
But Abd Rabbo believes that Israel would offer the Palestinians statehood by the end of the year with temporary borders and without Jerusalem as a capital, something Rashwan also considered a stumbling block to the idea.
“Where would this Palestinian state be, what are its borders? I don’t think the Americans and Israelis will support this so I don’t think it’s serious. It could be just used to pressure the Israelis in to speed up the peace process, Rashwan said.
Abd Rabbo also believed the Israelis would not compromise on the issues of Palestinian refugees and the settlement building in the West Bank.
On Wednesday he said, “If the peace negotiations are still not moving ahead towards a permanent status agreement, the Palestinians will seek declaring an independent Palestinian state unilaterally.
However Abd Rabbo did concede that the idea was not duly considered by the Palestinian leadership and that merely it was “put forward for the Palestinian institutions to study.