Israeli government officials Saturday night dismissed as “unrealistic” and a
“mirage” Palestinian threats to get the US or the UN Security Council to
recognize an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines if the
peace talks collapse.
The Palestinian Authority announced over the
weekend – following the Arab League meeting in Libya that gave the US a 30-day
grace period to get Israel to agree to another settlement construction
moratorium – that it was considering “alternatives” in case the peace talks
collapsed, including seeking US or UN recognition of an independent Palestinian
Arab League gives US a month to keep direct talks alive
In Libya on Saturday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas asked Arab
leaders to consider alternatives to the negotiations, said Saeb Erekat, a top
aide to the Palestinian president.
Erekat said Abbas asked Arab leaders
“to press the American administration to recognize an independent Palestinian
state within the borders of 1967.”
If the Americans reject the request,
the Palestinians might take up the issue with the Security Council nonetheless,
Abbas told the summit that he did not expect Israel to budge
on the settlement issue, and that in the meantime opposition to continuing the
talks is building among the Palestinian people, according to two Arab
“We have exhausted all our alternatives,” the diplomats quoted
Abbas as saying. They spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss
information from the closed session.
A PA official in Ramallah said the
Arab League supported the idea of seeking US or UN recognition of a Palestinian
“The Palestinian leadership will give the US administration
another chance to solve the crisis,” he said. “If their efforts fail in the next
30 days, we will go to the Americans and the United Nations.”
officials took the threat in stride.
“There is no substitute for direct
negotiations and a historic agreement,” one official said. “Everything else is a
The official, who said these types of threats were part of the
PA’s diplomacy, added that such proposals have not proven serious when raised
many times in the past, and that the PA understood that only a negotiated
solution could bring peace.
He added that over the past year the
Palestinians have alternated threats to go to the UN Security Council searching
for recognition of Palestinian statehood, with the threat of abandoning the
two-state idea and instead pursuing a “one-state solution.”
official refused to speculate on how the US would react if the PA did carry out
its threat to get international recognition for statehood, similar proposals in
the past have not been embraced by Washington, which consistently has said it
wanted to see a negotiated – rather than imposed – settlement.
also considerable doubt as to whether a US president could back such a far-reaching proposal that
would certainly face huge opposition in both houses of Congress and among large
swaths of the American public.
A call in July 2009 by Javier Solana, the
previous EU foreign policy chief, for the Security Council to recognize a
Palestinian state by a certain deadline if the sides could not reach an
agreement on their own, did not gain serious traction in Washington or, for that
matter, in many other capitals around the world.
At that time the Foreign
Ministry issued a statement rejecting Solana’s proposal, saying that UN Security
Council Resolutions 242 and 338, as well as the road map peace plan and previous
Israeli-Palestinian agreements established that the solution to the conflict
could only be reached through negotiations by the sides.Khaled Abu
Toameh and AP contributed to this report.