Photo: AP
Mahmoud Abbas
Photo: AP

Israel in last ditch effort to prevent PA bid

State officials still confused as to how Israel intends to handle Abbas' status upgrade bid. Will Israel pursue a diplomatic showdown or quietly ignore Palestinians' statehood campaign?

Israel and the United States are still engaged in efforts to thwart Mahmoud Abbas' plan to seek a status upgrade at the General Assembly on Thursday but chances of halting the bid appear very unlikely. The Palestinian bid is set to receive the support of over 150 states.


A senior US administration official said that Abbas' decision to take his bid for non-member state to the UN is unwise and will not bring the Palestinians any closer to realizing their legitimate aspirations for statehood.


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He said that the bid creates "a negative atmosphere" and complicates efforts to restart peace talks and promote a two-state solution.


According to the official, Washington is currently focused on one task – persuading the Palestinians to withdraw their bid and getting as many nations to vote against it. He hinted that the status upgrade would have an effect on the US's financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.


On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his top nine ministers to discuss Israel's policy ahead of the vote. Several ministers were absent from the meeting due to the Likud primaries and no decisions were reached.


State officials are consequently confused as to Israel's policy in respect to the UN bid.


A senior state official said that Jerusalem will not be able to ignore the bid if it is adopted. He estimated that Israel will respond with penal measures such as freezing funds, adopting parts of the Edmond Levy Report and revoking VIP cards for senior PA officials.


However, Israel will likely heed the US request and not take any harsh steps such as revoking the Oslo Accords, annexing settlements and overthrowing Abbas. These are only likely if and when the PA tries to prosecute Israel in the International Court of Justice.


Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has instructed all Israel missions to refuse to accept official letters containing the words "State of Palestine."


Itamar Eichner is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent




פרסום ראשון: 11.27.12, 10:14
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