Senior Palestinian Advises Kosovo Example

A senior Palestinian official said Wednesday that Palestinians should follow Kosovo’s example and unilaterally declare independence, saying talks with Israel on creating a state had made no progress. 

“Our people have the right to proclaim independence as the people of Kosovo did. We were occupied long before the Kosovo problem emerged,” Yasser Abed Rabbo, one of the Palestinian negotiators, told AFP. 

“Measures must be taken with a view to a unilateral declaration of independence as Kosovo did, and the world will then have to ensure the end of the occupation of our land,” he said. 

He pointed out that the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat symbolically proclaimed independence in 1988 but that “it never was applied on the ground as we wanted this to be done through negotiation.” 

“Today we want to unilaterally proclaim our independence on the ground and through peaceful means, and will call our people to protect their state, borders, institutions and the future of their children,” Abed Rabbo said. 

Palestinians should consider this option as talks with Israel “have made no progress” since they were relaunched in November. 

“Israel is seeking to gain time to grab more land and impose facts on the ground that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state with temporary borders, that is a truncated state in the West Bank.” 

The Gaza Strip and the West Bank, where Palestinians hope to establish their state, have been occupied by Israel since 1967 although Israel pulled out troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005. 

Kosovo on Sunday declared independence from Serbia, which vowed never to recognize the move.

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