As peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians remain stalled, the search for alternatives to negotiations continues. The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that the governing Palestinian Authority will declare an independent Palestinian state in 2011. While picking olives with an Italian reporter, Fayyad reportedly said that, “In 2011, we will celebrate 66 years of the United Nations and the United Nations will celebrate the birth of our nation.” In his comments, Fayyad also emphasized the importance of continued institution building in preparation for an independent state.
In response to increasing support for a unilaterally declared “Palestine” that could be recognized by the international community, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his address before the Knesset on Sunday, “We expect the Palestinians to honor their commitment to hold direct negotiations. I think any attempt to bypass them by appealing to international bodies is unrealistic…”