JERUSALEM – The Palestinian Authority expects “big movement” toward taking over most of the areas that would encompass a future Palestinian state by the end of the year, senior PA officials told WND.
The PA officials said the U.S. has been negotiating the borders of a future Palestinian state that would see Israel eventually withdraw from most of the West Bank and some areas of eastern Jerusalem with the exception of what are known as the three main settlement blocks – Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim and Ariel.
While the PA does not believe it will see an actual Palestinian state by the end of the year, it expects in that time it will take over many more neighborhoods in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem that are normally controlled on the ground by Israel.
The PA said the expectation is based on pledges by the Obama administration.
Further, the PA officials said talks are at such an advanced stage that the U.S. has floated the idea of Israel leasing land in the Jordan Valley after the establishment of a Palestinian state that would see the PA officially take over that territory. Israel has not responded to that proposal, the PA officials say.
The PA officials say the U.S. supports the concept of stationing of international troops along the Palestinian side of a future border. The officials said the discussions include the possibility of a contingent of Jordanian troops as well as private Palestinian firms and international soldiers participating in the patrol of the Palestinian side of a future border, the officials said.
Last weekend, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said he would enter into direct talks with Israel if it agrees to the deployment of an international force along its 1967 borders. Abbas made the comments in an article published in Jordan’s al-Ghad newspaper before meeting George Mitchell, the U.S. envoy to the Middle East, on Saturday.
PA officials told WND if Israel and the Palestinians fail to reach an agreement to create a Palestinian state, the Obama administration will support a resolution at the United Nations that would unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state.
The threat to create a Palestinian state using a U.N. vote is not new.
Last year, Ahmed Qurei, former PA prime minister and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, told WND in an interview that the PA “reached an understanding with important elements within the administration” to possibly bring to the U.N. Security Council a resolution to unilaterally create a Palestinian state.
Asked to which “elements” he was referring, Qurei would only say they were from the Obama administration.
Despite widespread assumptions the U.S. would veto any such U.N. Security Council resolution, PA officials told WND the Obama administration did not threaten to veto their conceptual unilateral resolution.
“The U.S. has a history of never before vetoing any U.N. move to create a new state,” a PA negotiator pointed out.
Meanwhile, PA officials said they were told by the Obama administration not to be concerned about the results of the upcoming midterm elections. The officials said they were told the outcome of the elections would not affect Obama’s foreign policy.