Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s letter to the Quartet last week calling for
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ouster is part of a campaign to
get leading democracies to oppose the PA’s UN bid, a senior diplomatic official
The idea behind the letter, the official said, was primarily
to preempt Abbas’s move at the UN by putting on the public agenda his record of
rejecting Israeli gestures and refusing to negotiate, while trying to
diplomatically isolate Israel.
The official said that, like last year,
Abbas is expected to deliver a blistering attack on Israel at the UN General
Assembly in September, and indicate his intention to seek non-member state
status in the organization. He is only expected to make that move, however,
after the November 6 American elections so as not to complicate matters for US
President Barack Obama.
Abbas knows that Obama needs “peace and quiet
until November,” so he will raise the issue, but not act on it, until after the
elections, the official said.
Liberman’s letter, he added, was an attempt
to be proactive and cast Abbas in the role of the intransigent party.
of Abbas’s arguments is expected to be that he is making his gambit now because
all attempts at negotiation with the current Israeli government have
Preempting, Liberman stated in his letter that Abbas is either
“uninterested or unable – due to his standing in the domestic Palestinian scene
vis-a-vis Hamas, and in light of the regional geopolitical situation – to reach
an agreement which would bring an end to the conflict, including addressing all
the core issues.
Instead, Abbas is creating a culture of blaming Israel
for delaying the process, while attempting to achieve advantages without
negotiation, via blackmail and ongoing attempts to internationalize the conflict.”
the official said it was clear that with their automatic majority in the UN
General Assembly the Palestinians could easily get the motion passed, Israel was
aiming to get some of the world’s key democracies – the US, Canada, Australia,
New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and European countries – to oppose the
According to the source, the assessment in Jerusalem is that
without most of those countries, the PA might not go through with the
While Washington has come out against such a move, Brussels has not
yet weighed in on the matter, and it is likely that while some EU countries will
want to oppose, others will support it.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian-
Israeli Peace NGO Forum – comprised of 50 left-wing NGOs such as Peace Now, Yesh
Din, Machsom Watch and Ir Amim – sent a letter to the Quartet Monday expressing
their “outrage” at Liberman’s letter.
The letter encouraged the Quartet
to “welcome a Palestinian initiative to secure a vote of confidence in the
coming UN General Assembly, by which the State of Palestine will be declared a
‘non-member state’ of the UN.”
According to the NGO forum, “This
achievement could constitute a major shift in the current stalemate and generate
new political and diplomatic energies serving the peace process.”