Israel presses Palestine to give up its statehood bid

Israel presses Palestine to give up its statehood bid

Israel presses Palestine to give up its statehood bid

Palestinian and foreign activists confront Israeli soldiers as they block the Tunnel road near the West Bank town of Bethlehem to protest against Jewish settlements and settlers living in the Israeli occupied West Bank. AFP photo

Israel is considering offering recognition of statehood within provisional borders to Palestinians if they drop their U.N. bid, otherwise they will topple the Palestinian president, according to an alleged foreign ministry document.

A senior official in the Foreign Ministry said Israel would demand in return that the Palestinian government give up its demand to be recognized by the international body as a state along the 1967 borders, and to have its status upgraded to a non-member observer state, daily Haaretz reported.

“In the event that the Palestinians give up going to the UN, Israel must reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority for a Palestinian state along provisional borders, during a transition period,” the document allegedly prepared by the Israeli Foreign Ministry reads.

The paper is a draft document that is expected to be endorsed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who would then present it to the Israeli officials charged with formulating Israel’s response to the Palestinian bid. The document also says the period of time for this Palestinian state would not be determined in advance and no deadline would be set for permanent borders. Israel also would not freeze construction in the large settlement blocs, it also said.

Israel will take severe steps of its own if the Palestinians continue their U.N. bid. “Toppling Abu Mazen’s [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] regime would be the only option in this case,” the position paper says, according to Agence France-Presse. The ministry paper warns that Israel “must extract a high price from Abu Mazen,” and that receiving state status at the U.N. “would be considered a crossing of a red line.”

‘Threatening peace accords’
The Palestinians are scheduled to present their bid for state observer status at the General Assembly on Nov. 29, where they are expected to easily win approval, despite opposition from the United States and Israel.

The document also says the country has instructed its diplomats to warn other governments that historic Mideast peace accords could be nullified if the Palestinians seek international recognition.

A decision to upgrade Palestinian observer status at the U.N. would “give Israel the right to reconsider and nullify” its 1990s interim agreements with the Palestinians, The Associated Press reported. The document warns of “grave consequences,” including unspecified “unilateral Israeli responses.”

The draft document was revealed as Palestinians held rallies across the West Bank yesterday, a day before the 24th anniversary of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s declaration of independence.

Palestinians were taking part in demonstrations blocking roads near the West Bank towns of Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah.

Demonstrators also gathered near the southern city of Hebron, as well as the northern towns of Qalqilya and Nablus, waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against the Israeli occupation.

Chanting “free Palestine,” they carried banners supporting the U.N. Palestinian bid to obtain state observer status later this month. In Atara, north of Ramallah, and at a checkpoint by the city of Bethlehem, Israeli forces fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. An Israeli army spokesman said that “approximately 200 people were throwing stones” near Jericho.