Chief Palestinian negotiator issues statehood ultimatum

(Reuters) – The Palestinians’ chief peace negotiator has laid out in the clearest terms yet plans to establish an independent Palestinian state within three years, even if it means ignoring pleas from the United States not to push ahead.

Expressing deep frustration and a degree of resignation that years of efforts to forge a two-state solution with the Israelis have made next to no progress, Saeb Erekat said there was no option other than to make a unilateral push for statehood.

He said a resolution would be put to the United Nations Security Council next month calling for a November 2017 deadline for the establishment of two states based on the boundaries that existed before the 1967 Middle East war, when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza and seized East Jerusalem – the areas the Palestinians want for an independent state.

“The status quo cannot last,” Erekat told members of the foreign press at his offices in Ramallah on Thursday. “We want to establish a state no later than November 2017. That’s it”…

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