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.
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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.
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." Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.