'PA UN state bid more dangerous than threats from Hamas'

Finance minister says Israel is unquestionably opposed to Palestinian move, no one can stop Abbas from petitioning the UN; Steinitz: Palestinians want to get state without giving anything to Israel.

August 31, 2011 12:44
1 minute read.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz 311. (photo credit: Courtesy: Ministry of Finance spokesperson)

The threat of Palestinian state recognition at the UN is more dangerous to Israel than Hamas control in the Gaza Strip, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) told Israel Radio Wednesday.

Steinitz said that Israel is unquestionably opposed to the Palestinian move, which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government has often called a unilateral action that undermines the peace process.

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The finance minister also said that it is out of anyone's power to stop Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from making his bid at the UN opening session on September 20. This sentiment echoed Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who told EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton earlier this week that officials were beginning to work on influencing the wording of the Palestinian petition.

Steinitz, however, took a less conciliatory tone. "This is a Palestinian attempt to get a state without giving anything to Israel in return, without peace, without security, and without giving up on the demand to return [Palestinian] refugees [to Israel]," he said.

Abbas said recently that he would not give up on the right of return for refugees, despite some legal experts saying refugee status would be affected by UN state recognition, and that the PLO would continue to function until all Palestinian issues were resolved, including the case of the refugees. The PA, he added, is part of the PLO and not a separate body, and the PLO represents all Palestinians "all over the world." 

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Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.

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