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Palestinians consider Mideast talks trump card: declaring statehood

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“We’re in the blame game place – we’re in a place where we’re defining who’s to blame” if the talks fail and the door continues to close on the two-state solution, says Daniel Levy, an expert in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at the New America Foundation in Washington. In that context and given Netanyahu’s proposal, the Palestinians cannot afford to simply stand by and wait for others, including the US, to respond, he says.

“The question is,” Mr. Levy adds, “is there a Palestinian strategy beyond, ‘We are waiting'?”

This is where the idea of simply declaring Palestinian statehood and negotiating backwards from a fait accompli comes in. Maen Areikat, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s chief representative to Washington, says it is just one of several ideas that surfaced at last week’s meeting of the Arab League in Libya.

“It has to be clear that we are not going to continue talking with the Israelis while they are continuing to build settlements,” says Mr. Areikat, who spoke Tuesday night at a dinner sponsored by the Palestinian Business Committee for peace and reform.

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