Wed, December 09, 2009
World > Middle East

Erekat: EU statement to help demark future Palestinian borders

2009-12-09 13:21:55 GMT2009-12-09 21:21:55 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

by Saud Abu Ramadan

RAMALLAH, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Wednesday that the European Union (EU) foreign ministers statement issued on Tuesday is a push forward towards the demarcation of the borders of the future Palestinian state.

"The statement is very important and essential, we can rely on it during our diplomatic movement to gain a massive European consensus and support over the demarcation of a future Palestinian state in the Security Council," Erekat told Voice of Palestine Radio.

He went on saying that the plan of the demarcation of the borders of the future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital "is the base on the international law."

"We were hoping that the European Union would make another step forward and say clearly that East Jerusalem is the capital of the future Palestinian state," Erekat said. "We were looking forward to more than what came in the statement."

Erekat also slammed France for its request during the meeting to amend the Swedish proposal that calls for considering the eastern part of Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state.

The EU foreign ministers on Tuesday urged Israel and the Palestinians to make Jerusalem their shared capital, prompting a swift, angry reaction from Israel.

The EU statement also rejected Israeli settlement in the Palestinian territories and condemned the Israeli security measures in the West Bank.

A day after the EU statement was issued, the Israeli army has on Wednesday prevented a European parliamentary delegation from entering the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the delegation said.

The delegation comprises nine European lawmakers representing several EU states and had held contacts with the Israeli authorities to facilitate its entry into Gaza.

"The visit was cancelled three hours prior to the scheduled time," the delegation said in a statement.

According to the statement, the Israeli army cited "security concerns" in justifying the delegation's entry denial.

"It is impossible to punish 1.5 million people in Gaza Strip and keep them living under a tight Israeli blockade," said the statement.

According to Palestinian sources, the delegation had already arrived at Erez crossing point in northern Gaza Strip before Israeli soldiers turned the legislators back.

The banning comes hours after the EU called on Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate on Jerusalem as the capital of both the Jewish state and a future Palestinian state.

The lawmakers were scheduled to inspect areas hit in Israel's last winter operation in Gaza, meet officials from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and members of the deposed Hamas government.

On Tuesday, Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to ban high-profile diplomats from entering Gaza because he believes such visits might grant legitimacy to Hamas which seized the coastal strip by force in 2007.

Meanwhile, Hamas took a different stand from the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

Hamas rejected on Tuesday the EU foreign ministers' statement, saying it was "below the level and doesn't meet the Palestinian people's hopes."

Deposed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haneya said on Wednesday that the declaration of the EU foreign ministers over Jerusalem "is an incomplete step which lacks implementation."

Haneya told reporters during a convention that the EU declaration over Jerusalem "should be immediately implemented to guarantee the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people."

The EU statement rejected any changes to the territories Israel occupied during the 1967 war, including East Jerusalem, unless Israel and the Palestinians make changes through negotiations.

Add Your Comments:

Your Name:
Your Country:
(English Only)
Please read our Terms of Service. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten others; have obscene or otherwise objectionable content; have spam, commercial or advertising content or links may be removed.