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Israel mulls steps against PA over UN bid
Published Tuesday 06/11/2012 (updated) 07/11/2012 19:05
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The Israeli prime minister's inner circle of ministers has reached an
agreement in principle on measures Israel may take against the PA.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Senior members of Israel's cabinet on Tuesday weighed punitive steps that could be taken against the Palestinians if they pursue a campaign to upgrade their status to "observer state" at the United Nations this month.

A senior Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's inner circle of ministers reached an agreement in principle on the measures Israel may take if the Palestinians ask the UN General Assembly for the diplomatic upgrade.

The upgrade could grant the Palestinians, now registered as an "observer entity", access to bodies such as the International Criminal Court, where they could file complaints against Israel.

Israel and the United States oppose the unilateral move by the Palestinians and have called on President Mahmoud Abbas to return to peace talks that collapsed in 2010 over Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that if the Palestinians pushed on with the UN bid, Israel may cancel the Paris Protocol, a key economic accord it maintains with the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.

The official added that the government might also adopt portions of a legal panel's report that recommended in July a legalisation of dozens of outposts set up by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

Israeli commentaters do not expect decisions on any steps before the result of Tuesday's US election is known.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in a 1967 Mideast war. Most countries consider settlements Israel has built in occupied territory as illegal under international law.

Frustrated in their request for full statehood last year amid US opposition at the UN Security Council, Palestinians have launched a watered-down bid for recognition as an "observer state" -- the same status given to the Vatican.

They are heading for a sure victory in the General Assembly, which is composed mostly of post-colonial states historically sympathetic to the Palestinians, but West Bank diplomats are courting European countries to further burnish their case.
1 ) Mitri I. Musleh / Canada
07/11/2012 00:07
You think Prime Minister Netanyahu Favors a One-State solution?

2 ) ian / australia
07/11/2012 01:52
I'm enjoying this. The threats mentioned: withholding funds and legalising outposts are both so criminal, and will only be moreso when Palestine is recognised as a (non-member) state, the desperation is palpable. Israel can respond, yes, lashing out in various extreme ways...but only by casting itself as a violent rogue state. That's all they've got to work with. There are no sane options. Palestine has the whole high moral ground and the world is becoming rapidly aware of it.

3 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
07/11/2012 05:51
Very stupid intentions of our government. Unfortunately, our PM/his supportive ministers in this endeavor don't know what the hell they're saying/doing by announcing prospective punishment of the Palestinians for their (highly likely) U.N. upgrade bid. All that his bark-barfing will accomplish is more condemnation/alienation from everybody (probably from many even in the U.S., if not from the U.S. government directly). Our PM is shooting himself in the mouth ... but don't count him out.

4 ) Outsider / EU
07/11/2012 09:53
Israel should put some of that energy into finding a way to curb settlement expansion. It wouldn't take much for Abbas - or whoever will follow him - to accept talks.

5 ) ian / australia
07/11/2012 10:44
The other interesting thing is that the "punitive steps" Bibi & Co. are considering are designed to be taken "if they pursue a campaign" or "if the Palestinians ask the UN General Assembly for the diplomatic upgrade." IF..! Well, the Palestinians WILL pursue it and WILL ask, and WILL succeed...so will the "steps" be taken anyway, when they're no longer an inducement to desist, but vindictive, retaliatory punishment? In democracy, when the people have spoken, in this case, at the UN, ALL parties

6 ) ian / australia
07/11/2012 10:46
(contd.) accept the decision. Like Mitt did. That's the whole point. Spiteful retaliation because an outcome is not the one you wanted isn't the behaviour of a truly democratic state. It's the behaviour of something else, and why is that not such a big surprise? Hmmm?

7 ) Rami / Palestine
07/11/2012 11:28
How is going to the UN for observer status considered "unilateral" but building 1,200 homes in the West Bank settlements is not?

8 ) Tibi / Tubas
07/11/2012 14:16
The most obvious punitive steps that Israel's cabinet will consider include:
- Stop allowing PA officials & residents to move through Israeli checkpoints,
- Not only End all further tax distributions to the PA, but Impose New taxes for import/export use of Israeli controlled lands (or disallow such use), and
- Impose New taxes for supplying electricity and water to the PA, or just discontinue supplying electricity and water to the PA !!!

9 ) ian / australia
08/11/2012 01:45
#8 Lost, as you are, (whoever you are) in your world of hasbara and make-believe, you don't seem to realise that your cleverly devised "punitive steps" are vindictive, illegal aggression and if carried out will be universally condemned...which is nothing new, of course, but what IS new is, come the upgrade, your nifty "steps" will be crimes (if not acts of war) against a sovereign state and signed up ICC/GCIV member.

10 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
09/11/2012 03:04
@ 7), Yes, the Palestinians going to the U.N. for Non-member Observer Nation status IS "unilateral" on their part (because, no, Israel definitely does not support them "bilaterally") ... but no one ever said the same should not be said of us if we build 1200 homes in the W. Bank. Israel's building of 1200, 2400, 24,000, 124,000 or as many home as we want IS also "unilateral." Nobody ever claimed it wasn't.
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