MK Plesner: Palestinian rallies may follow statehood bid

Kadima MK who helped compile FADC report on UN bid tells 'Post' that PA not interested in violence but potential for eruption exists.

By
August 30, 2011 03:14
3 minute read.
Yohanan Plesner

YOHANAN PLESNER. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Mass Palestinian demonstrations, with the potential to devolve into violence, are a likely result of the UN vote on Palestinian statehood, Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner said on Monday.

Plesner, who initiated and led the compilation of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s classified report on the Palestinian statehood bid, gave The Jerusalem Post his assessment of the upcoming vote’s ramifications.

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“There is a dangerous gap between the Palestinian public’s expectations [from the bid] and what they will see in reality, which can create disappointment,” Plesner explained. “The Palestinian Authority is not interested in an escalation – it is busy building a state.

“The PA is working on hundreds of projects in Judea and Samaria meant to build government institutions, such as a functioning judicial system.”

However, Plesner pointed out, while there is no interest in violence, there is potential for an eruption.

“The PA would not oppose and may even support non-violent protests, and the difference between non-violent and violent protests is just a spark.

“There are enough groups that are interested in violence, like Hamas or Islamic Jihad,” the Kadima MK explained. “As far as Israelis are concerned, there may be ‘price tag’ attacks by radical elements in Judea and Samaria.

“If Palestinians are demonstrating in Ramallah, that’s fine. The problem arises when the protesters reach points of friction,” such as settlements or the security barrier, he said. “There is no good reason that we should become the center of attention when most of the protests [in the Middle East] are directed at dysfunctional regimes.”

In addition, should the Palestinian statehood bid succeed, the newly-declared Palestinian state could join UN institutions.

“The Justice Ministry recently and belatedly began in-depth legal research of what will happen if the PA joins UN organizations,” the Kadima MK explained. “It is sure to have a negative influence on Israel’s vital interests. But Palestinian membership in the International Criminal Court or the International Telecommunications Union could have practical results.”

A less immediate result of a UN vote in favor of Palestinian statehood, he said, is that will put Israel at a disadvantage in future peace talks.

“We don’t know the exact wording of the Palestinian declaration that will be brought to a vote, but we know they are interested in the recognition of a state on ’67 borders.

“The moment states accept that, it will become the basis of future negotiations – as opposed to Obama’s outline, which included swapping settlement blocs – and the Palestinians’ appetite for unilateral steps will grow,” he added. “Our interests will no longer be considered.”

“The world is losing patience with this conflict.

We cannot afford to look like we’re at a deadlock,” Plesner said.

On Sunday, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee voted against the report, with coalition members in the committee saying it was politically motivated, which Plesner and committee chairman Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) denied.

“One of the Knesset’s main roles is to supervise the executive branch,” Plesner explained. “This is a classic example of that. We worked on this for months, and most of the findings are not controversial.

“This report is worthy of acceptance without any connection to coalition or opposition matters,” he concluded.

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