Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Saeb Erekat Speaks at CPAP on Palestinian-Israeli Relations

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Saeb Erekat Speaks at CPAP on Palestinian-Israeli Relations

Article excerpt

Saeb Erekat Speaks at CPAP on Palestinian-Israeli Relations

The Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine hosted on Feb. 17, 1999 a luncheon briefing with Saeb Erekat, minister of local government of the Palestinian Authority and former chief Palestinian negotiator in the Oslo peace process. Erekat discussed the current status of Palestinian-Israeli relations and future options for peaceful agreements.

Frustrated by the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu regarding the peace process, Erekat criticized the Israeli government's non-compliance with the Wye River agreement signed at the White House in Washington, DC on Oct. 23, 1998. "The Wye River deadline period was over on Feb. 1 and we still have not seen an Israeli redeployment from 18.1 percent of the West Bank," Erekat said. "We did not see the opening of the safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza; neither did we see the construction of the Gaza harbor or the implementation of the ad hoc economic committees relating to purchase taxes and other elements; and neither did we see the releasing of the Palestinian prisoners." Due to this and other policies carried out by the Netanyahu government, "the trust level between us and the Netanyahu government is below zero," he explained.

Erekat discussed recent changes in Jordan, Israel, and other Arab countries. "I do not think there is any other way to enter the next century in the fields of cooperation, prosperity, and stability other than through the fragile peace process we have now," he argued. …

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