It didn’t take long for Palestinians to pick up on US Secretary of State John Kerry’s rhetoric on Israel. Shortly after Kerry’s unprecedented warning that Israel is on its way to becoming an apartheid state, the Palestinians started calling Israel an apartheid state. What a coincidence.
The chief Palestinian negotiator blamed Israel for the crisis in the US-led negotiations, as the agreed-upon deadline for the nine-months of talks passed Tuesday, andaccused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of consolidating an apartheid regime.
Saeb Erekat, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ chief delegate to the negotiations with Israel said, “We believe that the international community must clarify to Israel that it’s choice of settlements and apartheid over peace will have political, legal, and financial ramifications.”
The senior Palestinian official accused the Netanyahu administration of misrepresenting its position in the negotiations: “The Israeli government, which is essentially a coalition which represents the extreme sectors of Israeli society – mainly the settlers – has never prioritized peace as a strategic objective.”
Erekat expressed cynicism of the current round of talks and of Israeli intentions during the period of negotiations: “Exactly nine months ago, the Palestine Liberation Organization, in light of the extraordinary efforts deployed by US Secretary of State John Kerry, decided to enter nine months of negotiations with the Israeli government, in order to reach a final status agreement.