Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said Monday, May 11, that the Palestinian leadership will be holding a meeting headed by President Mahmoud Abbas next Thursday, to create a full strategy to respond to the US-Israeli plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Speaking to the official Voice of Palestine radio, Erekat held the Trump administration fully responsible for any steps taken by Israel in this regard. He said the statement made by the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, in which he said that the establishment of a Palestinian state will only take place “when the Palestinians become Canadians,” is an unprecedented insolence from a man promoting violence, murder and settlements.
He added that the US administration, which includes Friedman and others like him, promotes settlements and aims at imposing facts on the ground. Erekat stressed that the US has taken 47 decisions against the Palestinians in the past two years, including relocating the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, closing the office of the PLO in Washington, halting US financial aid to UNRWA, and writing off the issue of the Palestine refugees.
Regarding the statements made by Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in which she confirmed the impartiality of the investigation on Palestine, Erekat said that this would lead to the opening of judicial investigations of Israeli officials who have committed war crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. Erekat pointed out that the Israeli incitement campaign against the ICC aims at silencing the voice of the world so that Israel can carry out its crimes without any accountability or criticism.
On Sunday, May 10, Azzam al-Ahmad, Member of the PLO Executive Committee and the Central Committee of the ruling Fatah movement, said that Abbas has ordered the formation of a special committee tasked with following up the Palestinian response to the impending Israeli plan to annex parts of the West Bank. He said the committee would convene at the beginning of this week to look into the steps to be taken by the Palestinian leadership, as the Israeli government is expected to submit its annexation plan to the Knesset. He stressed that on the first day following such annexation all agreements with Israel will be invalid. He said, “The meeting of the PLO Executive Committee on Thursday evening confirms that all agreements with the occupation and the United States administration will be null and void if the Israeli annexation decision is implemented.” He made it clear that “the US bears responsibility for Netanyahu’s actions and decisions that are expected to be implemented with American incitement and with disregard to all the resolutions of the international legitimacy.” The top PLO official warned that an Israeli annexation decision would deal a hard blow to any possibility for successful negotiations leading to the creation of an independent Palestinian state.