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Abbas warns security chiefs be alert to Israeli provocation

Nov. 3, 2011 2:31 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 5, 2011 4:08 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed his security commanders to be alert and cautious of Israeli attempts to escalate tension, his political adviser Nimr Hammad said.

Abbas discussed developments on the ground with security commanders in light of threats by Israeli politicians and military officials and Israel's decision to withhold Palestinian tax revenue, Hammad told Ma'an.

Israel on Tuesday decided to cut off transfers of Palestinian tax revenues, depriving the Palestinian Authority of about $100 million, and threatening the salaries of about 180,000 employees.

The decision was announced after Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his cabinet to discuss punitive measures to respond to UNESCO's admission of Palestine a day earlier.

Some 107 countries voted to admit Palestine to the UN cultural body, a move the Israeli government has described as a "tragedy."

The UN Security Council is currently considering Abbas' application to join the United Nations as a full member, and the president discussed this with security commanders, Hammad said.

The council is expected to announce its decision next week, although the US has already vowed to use its veto in the council to stop Palestine's admission to the world body.

Abbas told security chiefs that the application to join the UN was a legitimate political step in line with international law, but instructed them to be alert to Israeli efforts to escalate tension, Hammad said.

The president also told them not to be dragged into Israeli provocations, Hammad added.

Palestine's envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour recently complained to the Security Council over Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman public calls for President Mahmoud Abbas's removal

Lieberman's comments sparked outcry among Palestinian ministers, as well as the spokespeople for UN envoy Robert Serry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

The foreign minister appeared unperturbed by the complaints and repeated his remarks two days later.

Mansour told the UN council that Lieberman's statements constituted incitement and were "a clear threat against the life of (the president), whose commitment to peace is unquestionable."
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