|Photo by: Lucas Jackson / Reuters|
PA pushes for statehood, Israel plans response
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Arab League to appeal to EU representatives in favor of PA UN statehood bid; Israel seeks to recruit Western powers to stop the bid.
Arab League foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Cairo on November 12 with
EU representatives in an effort to persuade them to vote in favor of the
Palestinians’ unilateral bid to upgrade their United Nations status to
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened
a ministerial meeting of the Octet – the group of ministers close to the prime
minister – to discuss the Palestinian Authority’s UN bid ahead of a Friday
meeting on the matter in Vienna between Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and
Israeli ambassadors stationed in Europe.
Israel is considering punitive
measures against the PA. There is some speculation that Netanyahu has held off
approving the Levy Report, which calls for transforming outposts into new
settlements, so that he can use it as leverage to prevent the success of the
PA’s UN bid. Since the Palestinians already have majority support at the General
Assembly for the resolution, Israel is hoping that Western powers can sway them
to drop the bid.
Although upgrading their status will not make them a
member state, it will give them additional statehood rights, which may include
the ability to prosecute Israelis at the International Criminal Court. It is
also considered a de facto declaration of Palestinian statehood by the
PA officials reiterated on Tuesday that PA
President Mahmoud Abbas was determined to push forward with the bid, in spite of
increased pressure and threats from the US and Israel. Chief PLO negotiator Saeb
Erekat said that the PA leadership would not “succumb” to pressure or retract
its decision to pursue the statehood bid.
“We say to the countries that
are trying to stop us that we don’t seek a confrontation with the US,” Erekat
“Nor do we seek to isolate Israel. Rather, we seek to isolate
settlements and Israeli occupation and consolidate the two-state solution on the
basis of the 1967 borders.”
The PA leadership is now hoping to win the
full backing of the Arab League for the renewed statehood bid.
this week, Abbas met in Amman with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Araby and
urged him to secure the support of the Arab countries for the bid.
Ahmed, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said that Liberman’s latest
statements against the PA leadership would not stop the Palestinians from going
to the UN.
“We are going to the UN regardless of the results and
threats,” Ahmed told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency. “We have taken a
decision and it’s a final one.”
The Fatah official claimed that the
Israeli government was not interested in the establishment of an independent
“They want to have [Palestinian] self-rule for ever,”
Also Tuesday, Abbas won the backing of his loyalists in Fatah
for the statehood bid.
Fatah leaders who met in Ramallah said in a
statement that “Zionist terror would not succeed in stealing our national
rights, including the right of return, the right to self determination and the
right to independence and sovereignty on our land.”
contributed to this report.