‘Acceptance of PA’s UN bid will push back talks for years’

Senior official warns that General Assembly resolution recognizing PA as a nonmember state would create “unbridgeable gaps.”

Palestinian Flag 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Flag 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A UN General Assembly resolution recognizing the Palestinian Authority as a nonmember state would create “unbridgeable gaps” and push back negotiations for years, a senior Israeli official warned Wednesday.
The official said that once such a resolution was passed, the Palestinians would never be willing to negotiate on the basis of anything less, and no Israeli leader would ever be able to agree to what the Palestinians would likely get from the UN.
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He said that such a move would be a “strategic mistake by the world,” and said this was well understood by the US.
At the same time, the official said that Israel had no intention of negotiating with the Palestinians – or anyone else – over the language of the resolution to be brought to the UN, and that Israel was focusing on the “principle,” not the language.
He said that on a certain level the resolution would complicate matters for the Palestinians as well, since the PA would replace the PLO at the UN, and this would have ramifications regarding the refugee issue. Once a Palestinian state is recognized, this argument goes, Israel’s case that the refugees be resettled in that state will become stronger.
The official also said it was an “illusion” to think that a Palestinian state could “go it alone.”
“It can’t stand on its own,” he said, adding that the Palestinians need Israeli assistance in everything from tax collection to combating Hamas.
Israel, he said, had no intention of announcing beforehand how it would react if the UN General Assembly passed the resolution, saying the government was compiling a “basket” of options, from “light reactions” such as denying VIP passes to PA officials, to “heavy” ones.
Which particular “arrow” to take out of the quiver, he said, would depend on a large number of imponderable developments.
Although the official did not spell out which “heavy” reactions were under consideration, National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau told The Jerusalem Post this week that he would recommend declaring the Oslo accords null and void, and annexing the Jordan Valley and large settlement blocks.
The official said that the premise in Jerusalem was that there was nothing that Israel could do – such as announcing beforehand what “price” the Palestinians would pay for such a move – that would prevent Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from going to the UN.
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