Idea of a Palestinian state is 'shrinking', foreign minister says
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Riyad Al-Maliki, the Palestinian Authority's foreign minister, granted an interview to FRANCE 24. The top Palestinian diplomat regretted that the idea of a Palestinian state is "shrinking". Al-Maliki, who believes an Israeli annexation of the West Bank is "not off the table", called for the urgent resumption of negotiations with Israel.
Riyad Al-Maliki told FRANCE 24 that the Palestinian cause finds itself in a dire position as the situation on the ground continues to "deteriorate" and negotiations are deadlocked.
He warned that while the Palestinian Authority still favours a two-state solution, the idea of of an independent Palestinian state was "shrinking". He reiterated that if there was no Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem within a year, the Palestinian Authority could revoke its recognition of Israel and of the Oslo peace accords.
Al-Maliki noted that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had said that if the two-state solution was not accepted, a one-state solution was on the horizon. Al-Maliki said the Palestinian Authority was sending special envoys around the world to convey the urgency, indicating that an international peace conference could be held in Paris. Our guest also said he believed that an Israeli plan to annex the West Bank was "not off the table", adding that he did not trust Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett "at all".
With regard to the reopening of the US consulate in East Jerusalem, which was promised by the Biden administration but is opposed by the Israeli government, Al-Maliki called the issue a "real test" of Biden's commitment to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian talks. He explained that the Palestinian officials "believed in" Biden, but were "waiting for him to start implementing what he has promised us".
The Palestinian Authority's foreign minister claimed that Israel had prevented Palestinian elections from taking place by barring votes in East Jerusalem. He told FRANCE 24: "Bring me East Jerusalem in the process of elections and you will see me holding elections within 60 days."
Finally, Al-Maliki indicated that a national unity government with Hamas was now being discussed, but that it depended on Hamas agreeing to respect international agreements.
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