Washington is urging Israel not to allow construction in the area known as E-1
between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim as a possible response to the Palestinian
bid for statehood recognition next week at the UN, The Jerusalem Post has
Building in E-1, which would create contiguity between Jerusalem
and Ma’aleh Adumim to the northeast beyond the Green Line, is something various
Israeli governments have long wanted to do, but which US opposition has
Building there is one of a number of measures Jerusalem has
discussed as a possible retaliation for a Palestinian statehood
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other PA
spokespeople have made clear in recent days that they intend to bring a
resolution to the UN General Assembly, possibly as early as Thursday, November
29, which is the anniversary of the 1947 UN partition vote.
officials said the recent fighting in the Gaza Strip would likely serve as an
even greater impetus for Abbas to bring the measure to the UN, in an attempt to
make himself – and the PA – relevant after being sidelined throughout the
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has come out
publicly against the move, as have a number of key EU countries, such as
Britain, Germany and France.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told
Parliament on Thursday: “While there is any chance of achieving a return to
talks in the coming months, we continue to advise President Abbas against
attempts to win Palestinian observer state status. We judge that this would make
it harder to secure a return to negotiations, and could have very serious consequences for
the Palestinian Authority.”
The Post has also learned that European
diplomats are holding separate discussions with Israel and the PA about the
wording of the resolution that will be brought to the UN, and the possibility
that it will be modified a bit to mollify Israel and temper Jerusalem’s
One of Israel’s chief concerns regarding the step is that as a
result of being given statehood status by the UN General Assembly, the
Palestinians will be able to take Israel to the International Criminal Court,
something only states can do. One suggestion under review is the possibility of
a side letter whereby the PA would commit not to take Israel to the ICC as long
as diplomatic negotiations begin within a certain period of time.
not yet clear how the EU will vote on the UN measure, and whether it would reach
a consensus and abstain or – as was the case when the Palestinians sought
entrance into UNESCO as a state last year – some EU countries will support the
measure, others will oppose it, and still others will abstain.
Thursday, France indicated it is likely to support the PA’s statehood bid.
Without specifically saying which way France would vote, Foreign Minister
Laurent Fabius hinted at support.
“I would like to remind you of campaign
pledge number 59 of...President François Hollande, which said that there would
be an international recognition of a Palestinian state,” Fabius told members of
the French Senate.
A French government source said the comment was
intended to indicate that Paris was leaning towards voting for the Palestinian
During a visit by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Paris
late last month, Hollande said he regretted “the temptation of the Palestinian
Authority to go to the General Assembly to get what it couldn’t through
But Fabius, who met Abbas last weekend amid attempts to
secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, appeared to be signaling a change
The government of then-president Nicolas Sarkozy voted in favor
of granting the Palestinians full membership of UNESCO last year.
European official said that while it was clear Abbas had a built-in majority at
the UN to get the measure passed, he wanted European support to ensure it had
the legitimacy of the world’s established democracies. He said it was not clear
whether the lack of EU support would prevent Abbas from moving forward with the
Even during the height of the Gaza crisis, Netanyahu, during
numerous talks he held with various world leaders, raised this issue. According
to government sources, Netanyahu asked his interlocutors why they were not
calling on Abbas to stop the rockets from Gaza.
“They would tell him to
‘get serious,’ and that Abbas has no control, to which Netanyahu would reply,
‘So what is all the talk about statehood recognition at the UN,’” one source
said. The idea, he added, was to demonstrate how divorced from reality the whole
UN proposal was, and how Abbas needed to be convinced not to go through with the
Further, the source asked, “If the Palestinians go to the UN and
get recognition, next time there is a rocket attack from Gaza, why can’t we
attack Ramallah, and why can’t we take them to the ICC and accuse them of war
crimes?” Reuters contributed to this report.