Former ambassador: UN center for anti-Israel activity

"Israel's status in the UN is at an all-time low," says Prof. Gabriella Shalev; intelligence shows Israel must negotiate with Palestinians.

United Nations flags_521 (photo credit: Istock)
United Nations flags_521
(photo credit: Istock)
The picture painted regarding Israel’s international standing seemed grim during a Monday meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to discuss the possibility that the United Nations will recognize a Palestinian state in September.
The committee held a marathon three-hour meeting with leading experts in international and security policy, as well as intelligence and communications to discuss possible effects and responses.
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“The United Nations has become today the central location for anti-Israel activities,” said former ambassador to the UN Professor Gabriella Shalev. “Israel’s status in the UN is at an all-time low. The change of government in Israel did not help Israel’s status in the world. A unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood in the UN will not give the Palestinians anything – and will even distance the possibility for peace. Israel has no chance to fight against the Palestinian attempt in the General Assembly, and the United States is extremely uninterested in placing a UN veto on recognition of the Palestinian state.”
Attorney Penina Sharvit- Baruch, the former head of international law in the IDF, warned that “legally, UN recognition of a Palestinian state will define the IDF’s presence in the West Bank as an invading army. In addition, the Palestinian Authority, as a state, would have the right to sign agreements and international accords.”
A number of intelligence experts concurred that Israel had little choice but to engage in levels of negotiation as soon as possible, but disagreed regarding to what end.
Former OC Military Intelligence Gen. (res.) Aharon Zeevi Farkash said that “the differences in the levels of involvement by the United States in the events in Egypt and Libya and in involvement in the protests in Iran-led Fatah and Hamas to establish an internal accord. Israel must advance negotiations while insisting on the Quartet’s conditions as a precondition.”
While former Mossad head Efraim Halevy agreed that negotiations were an imperative, he argued that “in the current situation, final status negotiations are impossible for Israel. When there is no obvious solution, the negative scenarios increase. The only thing that can be done at this stage is to engage in dialogue toward a temporary agreement. It is difficult to know whether the American administration in 2016 will be any better for Israel, and so it is better to act now.”
“The new situation created Sunday requires Israel to initiate – otherwise the agenda will not be determined by us, and we will never be able to promote ourselves,” said Committee Chairman Shaul Mofaz (Kadima). “Unfortunately, Israel has no direction in advance of September.”
Isaac Herzog (Labor) echoed Mofaz’s warnings, cautioning that “the danger to Israel is clear and immediate. We see the iceberg ahead of us, but are ignoring it.”
In contrast, Aryeh Eldad (National Union), argued that the UN had already recognized a Palestinian state in 1988, “and so there is no real difference, other than the fact that we are trying to scare ourselves.”