Settlers and right-wing activists called on Israel to annex Area C and
threatened to burn the Palestinian flag, in response to Palestinian plans to
Thursday to ask the UN General Assembly to grant it the status of non-member
Left-wing Israelis, in turn, planned to rally in Tel Aviv in
support of the Palestinian move, which constitutes a de facto UN recognition of
Settlers argued that now was the moment to
strengthen Israel’s hold on the West Bank, particularly since the Palestinian
bid was an abrogation of the 1993 Oslo Accord.
“We’re concerned by
Israel’s lack of response to this provocative Palestinian step that is akin to a
declaration of diplomatic warfare,” said Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of
Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
He added that if
the Palestinians knew Israel’s reaction in advance, they would be deterred from
turning to the UN.
On Wednesday, Dayan sent Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu a letter in which he urged him to annex Area C of the West Bank and to
prevent any Palestinian Authority action in that area.
Dayan also called
on Netanyahu to authorize the Levi Report, which advocates transforming West
Bank outposts into legal settlements and states that Israeli building in Area C
is legal under international law.
Samaria Citizens Committee head Benny
Katzover and Binyamin Citizens Committee head Itzik Shadmi wrote letters to
parliamentarians in the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu.
Katzover and Shadmi
called for creating new settlements, authorizing frozen zoning plans for
existing ones and approving new public housing in West Bank Jewish
But in Tel Aviv, a coalition of peace groups said that they
supported the Palestinian initiative as an important step toward a two-state
Groups such as Peace Now, Gush Shalom, Machsom Watch, Ir Amim
and Combatants for Peace plan to hold a rally at 6 p.m. on Thursday outside
Independence Hall on Rothchild Boulevard in Tel Aviv.
Peace Now wrote a
letter to Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Public Diplomacy and Diaspora
Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein in support of the Palestinian bid.
urged the two ministers to turn the Palestinian bid from diplomatic defeat into
victory, by supporting it and claiming it as an Israeli achievement.
its letter, the group said that a careful reading of the text shows that it
supports the Israeli position of a negotiated two-state solution, in which all
the core issues would be decided during those talks.
It added that Israel
should have particularly highlighted the fact that in the document the
Palestinian Liberation Organization appears to recognize that Jerusalem would be
a shared capital by both states.
Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom said that the
UN vote was a reason to celebrate.
“The occupation is a heavy weight
around Israel’s neck, dragging us into the depths of brutality, extremism and
racism, and utterly corrupting our society. Liberating the Palestinians from the
yoke of occupation will liberate the State of Israel from being an occupying and
oppressive state,” Avnery said.
Alon Liel, a former Foreign Ministry
director-general, said he supported the Palestinian initiative and planned to
speak in its favor at the Tel Aviv rally.
He said he would have preferred
a two-state solution born out of negotiations, rather than a unilateral UN
But, in light of the frozen peace process, it was better to
have a Palestinian state, Liel said. He added that he hoped it would reignite
the peace process and lead to a final resolution of the conflict.
said he was not afraid of a Palestinian state born outside of the peace process
that was hostile to Israel.
When Israel was created in 1948, all the
neighboring states were hostile, and now again, they are still hostile, he
As an Israeli, he said, he does not want to control the lives of
the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
Liel added that a Palestinian
state was the best way to ensure that Israel remained a Jewish and democratic
But right-wing parliamentarians Arieh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari,
who are part of the National Union in the current Knesset but have found a
breakaway party called Strong Israel, said they believed that a Palestinian
state and the UN measure were dangerous for Israel.
parliamentarians, along with Strong Israel activists, plan to hold a small rally
at 4 p.m. on Thursday in front of the east Jerusalem UN offices, where they will
burn a Palestinian flag.
Eldad accused Netanyahu of crumpling like a rag
in the face of the Palestinian UN bid, rather than taking a strong
Israel should announce that this step cancels the 1993 Oslo
Accord, he said.
It is not enough to oppose the bid, he said, adding that
“the PA should now also be declared illegal and their flags should be
“Burning the Palestinian flag sends an unequivocal message.
There never was a Palestinian state and there never will be,” Eldad
“The Palestinian flag is a tool to eliminate the State of
Israel, and therefore the flag needs to burned, and what it stands for must be
destroyed. Without any hesitations, instead of faltering, the State of Israel
has to send a clear message.”
He added that he hoped the next government,
would create a situation by which the PA ceased to exist.