Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye on Monday called on the U.S. Congress to recognize an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
In a press statement issued at the end of a meeting with a delegation of U.S. Congress members headed by Senator Ben Cardin, Ishtaye called on the U.S. congressmen to work on amending the American laws which link both the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization to terrorism.
The statement said Ishtaye discussed with the delegation the future of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process amid the Israeli government’s attempts to undermine the two-state solution by maintaining Israeli occupation and violating the Palestinians rights.
He also asked the United States to implement the pledges it made to the Palestinians, mainly reopening the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem.
He also urged his visitors to help curb Israel’s settlement policy. “How can we continue to talk about the two-state solution when there are 720,000 settlers on the lands of the Palestinian state, and the settlement program is continuing?” he asked.
“There are 62% of the Palestinian lands under the direct control of Israel, and it deals with it as a geographical reservoir for settlement expansion,” he added.
Ishtaye also requested the delegation to pressure Israel to allow the PNA to hold general elections in all the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are claimed by the Palestinians, in the 1967 Middle East war, and has controlled them ever since. The Palestinians have been seeking to establish a Palestinian state on these territories together with the Gaza Strip.