The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, is once again attacking Israel and its new government, calling it “racist” and “extremist”.
According to the Ma’an news agency, Erekat’s comments were made during a meeting Wednesday with the European Union’s Foreign Policy chief, Federica Mogherini, who is visiting the region in an attempt to convince the sides to resume peace talks.
“It is clear through [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s actions, comments, and remarks that Israel has paved a new wave of racist and extremist policies and is not a partner for peace,” Erekat charged.
Erekat denounced an Israeli plan, which has since been shelved, to have Jews and Arabs ride separate buses in Judea and Samaria. He claimed that the plan would “sterilize” public transportation systems, segregating Palestinians and implementing Jewish-only public transport.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has already clarified that the plan was not to segregate buses, but to ensure that workers leaving the PA returned home at night.
“There is a security breach, according to a State Comptroller report issued in 2011, where there was no control on those who go to work in Israel” from the PA, he added. “In fact we started this week was a pilot test, at four crossings in Judea and Samaria, checking workers coming to work in Israel, and checking to ensure that they return. That was it.”
“All civilized states may – especially those with our sensitive security situation – check who enters and exits,” he fired. “It comes down to this and nothing else.”
In addition, Erekat also blasted an Israeli decision to build 90 new homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa.
“The move was in direct contravention of international law and Israel’s obligations under previous agreements, as well as a slight to the international community’s commitment to facilitate peace,” Erekat said of the decision, according to Ma’an.
Erekat added that the new government pieced together by Netanyahu earlier this month sends the message that “Palestinian lives, history and culture don’t matter”, calling on the international community to demand Israel fulfill its obligations under international law.
Two weeks ago, after the Israeli government was formed, Erekat claimed that it “will be one of war which will be against peace and stability in our region.”
“This government will set its sights on killing and reinforcing settlement activities,” he said, referring to Israeli construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
He later expressed skepticism about peace prospects with the new government following comments made by Netanyahu against the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying those comments were irresponsible and would cause despair among Palestinians.
“Desperation will lead to desperate acts,” Erekat warned, adding that Netanyahu’s opposition to Palestinian statehood raised serious questions about reviving negotiations.
“What do I talk to him about?” he added.