|Source: Xinhua 2017-02-25 04:21:03|
CAIRO, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) — Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erikat said Friday that the Palestinian leadership is in direct and close contact with China about the recent developments in the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
“China has an official Middle East peace envoy and we are always in contact…China is a country with remarkable political weight that has always supported the Palestinian legal rights,” Erikat said during an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
The Palestinian official pointed out that China was one of the first countries to support a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“China has always supported our stances in the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council as well as other international organizations,” Erikat added.
Right now, he said, China provides Palestinian National Authority (PNA) with great financial and technical support in addition to professional training to Palestinian government employees in several fields.
“We highly appreciate the Chinese political, technical and financial support to the Palestinian people,” he said.
Officially, China has always supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights.
In 2012, China voted in favor of a Palestinian UN bid to become a non-member observer state of the UN.
In December 2012, China voted for a bid condemning the Israeli settlement that was overwhelmingly adopted by the UN Security Council.
Meanwhile, Erikat, who was in a short visit to Egypt where he met with the Egyptian foreign minister and Arab league officials, said that the upcoming Arab Summit meeting that will be held in March in Amman must come out with a unified stance towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“The summit should confirm that the Arab Peace initiative cannot be changed…Arab leaders should affirm that there must be a Palestinian state on the 1967 border and all settlement activities must stop,” he said.
Palestinian leadership is skeptical after U.S. president Donald Trump backed off U.S. commitment to support the two-state solution and said that it was not the only way to achieve Mideast peace.
Trump’s remarks failed the Arab world and prompted the Arab League respond with a statement reiterating the necessity of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
“There is a notable change in the U.S. policy under Trump. His attitude is totally different from his predecessors,” he explained.
However, the veteran Palestinian politician said it is too early to judge Trump as he has only been in office for some 34 days.
“We are now studying all our options, but we need an Arab support to boost out future decisions and measures,” Erikat said.
About Trump’s statements that he will move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Erikat revealed that the opposing Palestinian stance was conveyed to Trump by King Abdullah II of Jordan when they met in Washington and when Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi and King Suleiman of Saudi Arabia talked to him in phone calls.
He said if the U.S. embassy is relocated to Jerusalem, the Palestinian leadership will take a bunch of punitive measures, among them is withdrawing the PNA’s recognition of Israel.
Erikat also appreciated the Egyptian president and Jordanian king reiteration during their meeting earlier this week that the two-state solution is a fixed national principle to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The two leaders expressed keenness on preserving the rights of the Palestinian people, stressing the necessity of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to restore stability to the Middle East region.
Israel has always been blamed by the international community for the deadlock of the Middle East peace process due to its settlement expansion policy that is rejected even by its strongest ally, the United States.
Still, confident in Trump’s support, the Israeli government recently announced plans to build about 6,000 Jewish settlement housing units in the West Bank.
The announcement was preceded by an Israeli parliamentary approval of the so-called “Regulation Bill” that retroactively legalizes about 3,850 housing units in dozens of outposts built illegally on privately owned Palestinian lands.
The peace talks between Israel and Palestine have been stalled since April 2014. The U.S.-sponsored talks that lasted for nine months achieved no tangible results.