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'Israel to wait for Abbas's next move before reacting'
By HERB KEINON
26/11/2012
Diplomatic officials: EU, US urged Israel not to "overreact" to PA's bid, wait for Abbas's next move before taking action.
 
The magnitude of Israel’s response to the Palestinian Authority’s bid to gain recognition at the United Nations a non-member observer state will depend on what PA President Mahmoud Abbas does once he obtains that status, diplomatic officials said Sunday.

The officials were echoing remarks National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror said in a Meet the Press interview on Saturday. Amidror did not detail what action Israel would take, beyond saying that it could not “accept a unilateral action that breaks the rules of the game.”

Amidror said the move in the General Assembly, unlike the PA’s unsuccessful attempt in 2011 to go through the Security Council and gain entrance into the UN as a member state, was “mostly symbolic.”

“We will have to wait and see what he does with it, and then act,” Amidror said, refusing to even reveal what possible reactions were in Israel’s arsenal.

Diplomatic officials said that Israel has been urged by the EU and the US not to “overreact” to the Palestinian bid, and to wait and see what Abbas did once the resolution passed before taking any “irreversible” actions.

Israel’s possible responses have ranged from the mild – such as withholding PA tax revenue – to the harsh: annexing the large settlement blocs.

One voice in the government advocating rupturing ties with Abbas and the PA over the move is Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who for months has accused Abbas of engaging in diplomatic terror against Israel, and has advocated severing all ties with him.

Liberman will convene a meeting Monday of senior Foreign Ministry officials to discuss Abbas’s move.

One ministry official clarified, however, that this meeting will deal more with Israel’s attempts to convince the world’s democracies not to support the move, than with deciding what Israel’s response will be – a decision that will be made at the cabinet level.

European diplomats have been in discussion with the PA about securing a commitment not to take Israel to the International Criminal Court if it achieves non-member statehood status in the UN, in order to mollify Israel and ensure a tamer response from Jerusalem.
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