PM: UN bid will delay Palestinian statehood
Netanyahu says Palestinian state cannot be founded without resolution to
conflict with Israel; Germany to abstain from General Assembly vote on PA’s
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday asserted that the Palestinian bid
for UN recognition will only delay the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu, who made the remarks during a visit to the Menachem Begin Heritage
Center in Jerusalem, said that “while Israel’s hand is always extended in
peace, no Palestinian state can be established without a declared resolution of
the conflict and viable security arrangements that will protect the State of
Israel and its citizens.”
The UN General Assembly is set to implicitly recognize a sovereign state of
Palestine on Thursday despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish
the Palestinian Authority by withholding much-needed funds for the West Bank
The prime minister noted that the Palestinians’ proposed General Assembly
resolution makes no mention of the Israeli stipulations.
“We want peace but peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations
without preconditions and without unilateral UN resolutions that don’t take
into consideration Israel’s existence and security needs,” he said.
“Peace will be achieved through agreements made between Jerusalem and
Ramallah,” he added.”
Acknowledging the inevitable result of the vote, Netanyahu said: “Don’t be
impressed by the applause at the UN. I remember the applause that the Israeli
government received from the international community when it decided to
unilaterally disengage from Gaza. We got applause and were attacked by
Germany to abstain
Germany informed Israel on Thursday that it has decided to abstain from taking
part in the vote. The Czech Republic, previously expected to oppose the bid, is
likely to refrain from voting as well. At least 15 European countries will vote
in favor of the request while the rest are to abstain.
A Palestinian resolution that would change the Palestinian Authority’s UN
observer status from “entity” to “non-member state,” like the Vatican, is
expected to pass easily in the 193-nation UN General Assembly.
Israel, the United States and a handful of other members are planning to vote
against what they see as a largely symbolic and counterproductive move by the
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is in New York ahead of the vote, said
that that he resisted overwhelming pressure to withdraw the bid. He stated he
isn’t scared of Israeli threats and therefore has not bolstered the security
“If Israel wants to hurt me it can, because I live under an occupation like all
Palestinians,” he said.
No Palestinian consensus
Despite reports that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are behind Abbas in his
statehood bid, spokespeople for the groups made it clear there is no extensive
support for the move.
“The UN bid doesn’t have practical significance,” said Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas
spokesman. “The Palestinian Authority didn’t poll the public before making its
decision. A UN request should be based on a Palestinian consensus.”
The Islamic Jihad’s Abdullah al-Shami added: “We will never support Abbas’ UN
bid. Our goal and our ideals extend beyond the UN General Assembly.”
Demonstrations in support of Abbas were to be held in cities across the West
Bank on Thursday. His speech before the General Assembly was to be projected on
giant screens. In Bethlehem, the address was to be project on the security
“I support the UN request because I think we can garner the international
community’s support,” one Ramallah resident said. “The current international
climate is good for us.”
But another Ramallah man said the UN resolution “will mean a big loss for the
Palestinians, because some countries will cut aid to the West Bank.”