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Fayyad expects Palestinian state in two years

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said a Palestinian state will be established in two years "at most."

Speaking Monday at Al-Quds Universtiy in Abu Dis, on the outskirts of eastern Jerusalem, Fayyad’s speech was billed as a rebuttal to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan address last week, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.

"A Palestinian state will be established in two years’ time," Fayyad said, adding that the peace initiative by the Arab states and the "road map" should be the bases for the process.

Fayyad called on the Palestinian factions to come together in a show of national unity.

"I call on all our people to unite around the project of establishing a state and to strengthen its institutions … so that the Palestinian state becomes, by the end of next year or within two years at most, a reality," he said. "Achieving this goal within two years is possible."

Fayyad said that “East Jerusalem will remain the eternal capital of Palestine.”

He also restated the Palestinian demand that Israel stop building in the West Bank settlements before resuming negotiations.

Fayyad criticized Netanyahu’s speech as vague before speaking directly to the Israeli people.

“Our Israeli neighbors, I know that you have a history of bad memories and good hopes for the future. We are the same," he said. "We have a history of difficulties and still we look for a better future, and so we want to establish our state next to your state and live freely in respect and peace, and now we are in the final stage in establishing our state and we will work to achieve a final resolution.”

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