Fayyad: world must push for Israel's Yay or Nay

AFP , Thursday 10 Mar 2011

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called for a clear stance by the Israeli's with regards to a Palestinian state

The world must push Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu to say whether or not he accepts a Palestinian state on lands occupied in 1967, prime minister Salam Fayyad said on Thursday.

"It is time for the international community to ask Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: does he accept the establishment of a Palestinian state on all the lands occupied in 1967 -- yes or no?" he told AFP on a visit to Jericho.

His remarks were made just days after sources close to the Israeli leader suggested he would soon unveil a new 'diplomatic initiative' to revive peace talks -- one that would involve the establishment of a Palestinian state within temporary borders, reportedly on around 50 percent of the West Bank.

Fayyad rejected the idea out of hand.

"There is no need for any kind of new initiative -- the only initiative that can work is one which leads to the establishment of a Palestinian state on all lands occupied in 1967 and not on part of it," he said.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu, who has not yet formally announced details of his plan, insisted that Israeli troops would remain on the border between Jordan and the West Bank under any future peace deal.

Speaking to reporters as he toured the Jordan Valley, which lies along the eastern flank of the occupied West Bank, Netanyahu claimed that pulling out of the valley would expose Israel to major security threats.

But Fayyad said the valley would be part of the state which the Palestinians are in the progress of building and which they hope to have recognised by the United Nations in September.

"The Jordan Valley is Palestinian land -- it is not land about which two parties can fight over. It is Palestinian land which was occupied in 1967 and which will be part of the Palestinian state which we are going to establish," he said.

Israel has ruled out a return to the pre-1967 borders, arguing that such lines were "indefensible" and would only serve to encourage so called "Islamic radicals" in the region.

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