Palestinians consider shift in strategy on statehood

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RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian leadership, near despair about attaining a negotiated agreement with Israel on a two-state solution, is increasingly focusing on how to get international bodies and courts to declare a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

The idea, being discussed in both formal and informal forums across the West Bank, is to appeal to the United Nations, the International Court of Justice and the signatories of the Geneva Conventions for opposition to Israeli settlements and occupation and ultimately a kind of global assertion of Palestinian statehood that will tie Israel’s hands.

The approach has taken on more weight as the stall in American-brokered peace talks lengthens over the issue of continued settlement building.

“We cannot go on this way,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a former peace negotiator who is a part of the inner ruling circle of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which oversees the Palestinian Authority. “The two-state solution is disappearing. If we cannot stop the settlements through the peace process, we have to go to the Security Council, the Human Rights Council and every international legal body.”

In an interview, she said that the P.L.O. was holding high-level discussions on these options this week.

Israeli officials reject the move as unacceptable and a violation of the 1993 Oslo accords that govern Israeli-Palestinian relations. It would also pre-empt any efforts by Israel to keep some settlements and negotiate modified borders. But the Israelis are worried. No government in the world supports their settlement policy, and they fear that a majority of countries, including some in Europe, would back the Palestinians.

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