A furious Jerusalem on Thursday denounced a declared Palestinian Authority effort to isolate Israel and eventually have it expelled from the UN as both outrageous and risible.
“Israel is not going to be kicked out of the UN,” said a senior Israeli official. “This is ridiculous.”
He was speaking after the PA announced that it was stepping up its diplomatic and economic “intifada” against Israel.
The idea of intensifying a campaign of delegitimization, leading ultimately to Israel’s UN expulsion, was unveiled on Wednesday night by Nabil Shaath, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and one of the chief architects of the Oslo Accords.
Speaking at a conference in Ramallah, Shaath said: “There is a need to create and endorse new struggling tools, such as the popular resistance, and to increase our efforts in the international arena to isolate and punish Israel, prevent it from deepening its relations with the European Union and attempt to expel it from the United Nations.”
The “nature of the Jews and the Holocaust in Germany helped Jewish communities establish strong strategic ties with countries that have influence in the international arena,” added Shaath, a former PA foreign minister who is closely associated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Israeli official said such a campaign stood “in complete contrast to the peace process.”
He added: “You can’t on one hand say you want peace with Israel, and on the other hand act to delegitimize us. This is unacceptable and raises questions as to the Palestinian commitment to peace and reconciliation.”
The official said that Israel would raise these issues in the proximity talks, as it already did on Thursday during the talks between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US envoy George Mitchell, when Netanyahu protested against the Palestinians failed effort to block Israel’s admittance into the OECD (the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).
“We will put these issues front and center in our talks,” the official said. “This is totally contradictory to a successful peace process and demonstrates that parts of the Palestinian leadership are stuck in a conflict mindset and are incapable of moving toward peace and reconciliation.”
The official pointed to the PA’s OECD campaign as evidence that there was no chance of Israel losing its seat on the world body.
“At the OECD they only needed to win one vote out of 31 to block our entrance, and were unable to get it,” he said.
The problem was not that the Palestinians might succeed, he added. The problem was the negative mindset that these attempts represented.
Orchestrated by the PA government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the new Palestinian “uprising” also calls for “peaceful demonstrations” in the West Bank against settlements and the security barrier and waging a total boycott of all products manufactured in the settlements.
At the Ramallah conference, which was also broadcast to the Gaza Strip, Shaath called on Palestinians to intensify pressure on Israel through nonviolent means.
“We need to continue and step up the pressure on Israel, regardless of whether the peace talks are resumed or not,” he said. “We need to rally international support for our cause and impose sanctions on Israel. We must pursue Israel in all international bodies and institutions.”
Shaath said Fatah’s declared strategy was “to endorse a growing
nonviolent popular struggle” against Israel, in light of the fact that
the “armed struggle” had become impossible and undesirable at this
He said that during a recent visit to Gaza he told Hamas Prime Minister
Ismail Haniyeh that “Arab, regional and international circumstances
don’t allow us to launch an armed struggle against Israel.”
Therefore, he added, the Palestinians should mobilize their energies to
wage a “peaceful resistance” against Israel by isolating it and stepping
up the pressure on it.
The nonviolent struggle was “not less honorable than the armed struggle
and does not mean surrender to Israeli conditions,” Shaath said.