United Nations 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel’s efforts to rally countries against Palestinian Authority plans to ask
the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines are
hindered by the fact that Israel has not presented any plan of its own,
diplomatic officials said Tuesday.
RELATED:'Quartet ‘parameters’ must address our needs'Editor's Notes: How Palestinians will use the GA to advance statehood
Israel has stepped up these efforts
since the Palestinian Authority’s Saeb Erekat said two weeks ago that the
Palestinian leadership “decided to start implementing alternatives to
negotiations, and the first of these is demanding recognition.”
this decision had been taken because the PA leadership was convinced
negotiations with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government were impossible
because of settlement activities.
Israeli diplomats abroad have expedited
efforts to convince countries not to support the recognition move, warning – as
Israeli diplomatic officials have been doing for months – that it could lead to
counter-moves by Israel.
Among the Israeli unilateral actions reportedly
discussed in various forums are annexation of large settlement blocs, and
limiting the Palestinian use of Israel’s ports for imports or
The PA, meanwhile, accused Israel of trying to “bully” the
The PA leadership in the West Bank also dismissed as
unacceptable Israeli threats to cut off ties with the PA if Hamas joined a
Palestinian unity government.
Nimer Hammad, political adviser to PA
President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of practicing “political thuggery”
against the UN.
He said that the international community could no longer
tolerate Israel’s “arrogance” and “disrespect” for international
Hammad said that there was a worldwide consensus regarding the need
to “end occupation and establish a Palestinian state along the 1967
The PA is expected to ask either the UN Security Council or
General Assembly for recognition in September.
Also Tuesday, the PA
rejected statements by Netanyahu regarding efforts to achieve unity between
Hamas and Fatah.
Netanyahu has said in recent days that the PA can have
peace either with Hamas or with Israel – but not with both – and that Israel
would not have ties with a PA that included Hamas in a national unity
Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, dismissed the threat
as unacceptable and accused Israel of intervening in an internal Palestinian
affair. He said that Palestinian national unity was a “red line” for the
Abu Rudaineh claimed that Netanyahu was searching for excuses to
avoid conducting negotiations with the Palestinians.
The spokesman also
brushed aside the Israeli warnings about a unilateral recognition of a
Palestinian state by the UN. He said that the number of countries that recognize
Palestine is bigger than those who don’t, and added that all West Bank
settlements would be dismantled “sooner or later,” just as they were in the Gaza
Sources in Netanyahu’s office said that the idea of unilateral
Israeli moves has not been addressed by Netanyahu in recent meetings with top
international officials, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman
Sen. John Kerry, or the foreign ministers of Norway or Sweden.
to Israeli officials, the US is also trying to convince various countries to
oppose the move, fearing that it would shatter the negotiations framework and
lead to unilateral actions by both sides that would make reaching an agreement
even more difficult.
But diplomatic officials said that it would be
easier to lobby support if Israel had an alternative plan of where things were
Channel 2 reported that one plan that was being considered – and
has even been discussed in the security cabinet – was the construction of a 2
km.-by-4 km. artificial island built 4.5 km. off the coast of Gaza and linked by
According to the plan, Gaza’s exports and imports would go
though this island, which would include a port and an airport. The island would
be under the security control of NATO or another international body that would
search the cargo going in and out of the Gaza Strip.
Israel has adamantly
opposed opening a harbor or airport in Gaza because of security
According to the report, the project – spearheaded by
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz – would cost between $5 billion and
$10b. and take some six years to build.
Katz spoke a number of
months ago about the idea with Netanyahu, who told him to develop a plan. Some
17 similar models from around the world were studied and discussed.