Israeli politicians weigh in on Palestinian UN move

Linvi: Talks with Palestinians would have prevented UN statehood recognition; Shalom: Bid shows only Israel honors agreements.

Tzipi Livni 370 (R) (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Tzipi Livni 370 (R)
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Israeli politicians responded on Friday morning to the United Nation's decision on Thursday night to vote in favor of the recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state.
Former Kadima head Tzipi Livni, who is running for the 19th Knesset with a new party, told Israel Radio that the government should have had talks with the Palestinians in order to prevent the unilateral UN move.
Livni called the Palestinian UN move a "strategic terrorist attack" and said Israel will be weakened in any future negotiations with the Palestinians as a result of the move.
The "Tzipi Livni Party" leader said the legitimacy the Palestinians received from the UN would allow them to found a state in the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as their capital without the need to have negotiations with Israel and without Israel's position being represented.
"We are not the ones initiating the move, it is being forced on us, and this is bad," Linvi added.
"The gap between the government's threats to the Palestinians [and its actions] resulted in legitimacy for Hamas following the Gaza operation and now, also, in legitimacy to the Palestinian Authority in the UN," Livni told Israel Radio.
On the other hand, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom insisted to Israel Radio that the Palestinian decision to go to the UN in a unilateral move shows that only Israel honors previous agreements reached with the PA.
"Both Israel and the Palestinians were in favor of having negotiations," Shalom said. "Livni and [former prime minister] Olmert were willing to give up 98% of Palestinian territories and even then could not reach an agreement [with PA President Abbas]," he added.
He added that Netanyahu has accepted both of Abbas's preconditions - to accept the two-state solution and to freeze building in the settlements for ten months - and that even then an agreement could not be reached.
Shalom lamented that the Palestinian move pushed the possibility of reaching a peace agreement further away, and called for unilateral steps on Israel's side, like annexing the territories between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.
By supporting the Palestinian statehood bid, European countries gave legitimacy to the fact the Palestinians do not honor agreements, he said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised the countries who opposed the UN vote last night to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations to observer status, Israel Radio reported.
Netanyahu commented: "Nine states lined up on the side of truth and peace. History will judge them favorably and all are worthy of praise."