Vilnai: Palestinian UN statehood bid a 'huge mistake'

Home front defense minister says military preparing for statehood aftermath; FM: Their will be "severe" consequences to unilateral move.

September 14, 2011 11:35
2 minute read.
Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai

Vilnai 311. (photo credit: Yaakov Katz)


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The Palestinians are making a “huge mistake” by moving forward with plans to unilaterally declare statehood at the United Nations next week, Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said on Wednesday.

Vilnai said that diplomatic efforts to stop the Palestinian Authority’s plans were continuing around the world and that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad were at odds over the plan. Fayyad is understood to be opposed to the declaration at the UN.

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“There is no question that something will happen with September although no one knows what it will be,” Vilnai said following a briefing to reporters.

“There are disagreements between Abu Mazen [Abbas] and Fayyad and there are continued diplomatic efforts to stop them. The Palestinians are making a huge mistake and they know it.” He said that the defense establishment was preparing for a wide-range of scenarios that could erupt along Israel’s borders and in the West Bank.

Earlier, a senior defense official said that current IDF assessments were that demonstrations and disturbances that erupt following the PA’s declaration at the UN will likely last a number of months.

“Everyone talks about September but it is not as if September 31 will come and everything will end,” the senior official said. “We assume that it could last throughout October and November as well.”

Vilnai and OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg also summed up the recent national civil defense exercise that was held in Israel under the name “Turning Point 5.”

According to Eisenberg, the drill, which was held in June, has led to increased interoperability between various Israeli emergency services such as the Home Front Command, Magen David Adom and the Israel Police. He said that the IDF has installed over 3,000 sirens throughout the country, a 50 percent increase since before the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

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