By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Erekat: "We hope Quartet meeting will come out with serious statement that focuses on the two-state solution on basis of 1967 borders."
The Palestinian Authority on Sunday expressed hope that members of the Quartet - the US, EU, Russia and the UN - would obligate Israel to implement the two-state solution on the ground so the Palestinian state would become the 194th member of the UN.
The PA's appeal came on the eve of a meeting of representatives of the Quartet in Washington to discuss the future of the Middle East peace process and the Palestinian leadership's intention to ask the UN in September to recognize a Palestinian state on the pre- 1967 lines.
In a related development, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has summoned all his ambassadors to different countries to a meeting in Turkey late this month to prepare for the September statehood bid.
"We call on the Quartet to issue a statement urging Israel to freeze construction in the settlements and accept the 1967 lines as the borders of the Palestinian state," said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
He said the PA has been in contact with representatives of the Quartet to explain to them the Palestinian position and urge them to issue the appeal to Israel.
"Intensified settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem is a basic pillar of the Israeli government's policy," Erekat said. "This proves that Israel is trying to prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state."
Erekat said that during his talks with US government officials in Washington last week he presented them with a document detailing all of the settlement activities since the beginning of this year.
The document reveals Israel has built thousands of housing units in various settlements in the West Bank, and in east Jerusalem, Erekat said.
He accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of "racing against time to prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state" by increasing construction in the settlements, including Jerusalem's neighborhoods of Gilo, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Pisgat Ze'ev, the Mount of Olives, Givat Hamatos and Ras al-Amoud.
"These settlement activities are illegal and violate international law," Erekat complained.
"They will also destroy any chance of implementing the two-state solution and US-led international efforts to revive the peace process."
Erekat's document is largely based on a report by Peace Now on settlement activities in the West Bank and Jewish housing in east Jerusalem.
"We hope that the Quartet meeting will come out with a serious statement that focuses on the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders and calls for an immediate cessation of settlement construction," he said.
Erekat called on the US and EU to recognize a Palestinian state that would become the 194th UN member, after South Sudan.