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JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel on Monday warned Palestinians against seeking recognition of an independent state, while dismissing the move as a political manoeuvre amid frustration over the stalled peace process.
"Any unilateral action will undo the framework of past accords and lead to unilateral actions from Israel," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late on Sunday.
"There is no substitute for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," he added.
His comments came after the Palestinians said they intended to ask the UN Security Council to recognise an independent Palestinian state as US efforts to relaunch peace talks flounder.
Israeli ministers on Monday said the Palestinian move was a political manoeuvre amid a widening rift between the two main Palestinian factions and mounting frustration over the impasse in the Middle East peace process.
Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, of the premier's rightwing Likud party, told public radio that the move was "a storm in a teacup, an internal manoeuvre aimed at boosting the image of Mahmud Abbas."
And he repeated a threat by another minister on Sunday that if the Palestinians proceed with their move, Israel should annex the parts of the occupied West Bank that house major Jewish settlement blocs.
While dismissing the "empty" rhetoric on both sides, Industry Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer of the centre-left Labour said the Palestinian move "betrays the frustration of the Palestinian population which sees no end to an occupation that has lasted for 43 years."
"All those who are speaking about annexation are speaking empty words and all those who are speaking of independence are also speaking empty words," he told army radio. "It's a game of ping pong."
Israeli analyst Yossi Alpher echoed the sentiment.
"The Palestinians might be seeking new concessions ahead of the renewal of peace negotiations, but there is no doubt that they are expressing their frustration," he said.
Chief negotiator Saeb Erakat insisted that the Palestinian side was serious, saying that he had met with European Union diplomats to ask them to back the move to the UN Security Council.
"We asked their countries to back our initiative," he said. "The initial response of the EU is positive. I didn't hear any opposition or concern from the EU members."
US Senator Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, said that Washington was likely to veto any attempt to bring the issue before the Security Council, which he branded as "a waste of time."
"I hope and presume that the United States would veto such an attempt when and if it ever came to the Security Council," he said in a press conference in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said that Netanyahu's comments showed that "Israel is looking for pretexts and excuses to oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state."
The move for UN recognition is the latest in a series of options the Palestinians have warned they could take if the Middle East peace process remained stalled.
Others include unilaterally declaring independence, asking the UN to determine final borders of their promised state, dissolving the Palestinian Authority (PA) and seeking equal rights within Israel. France warns against Palestinian declaration
The administration of US President Barack Obama has so far been unable to convince Israelis and Palestinians to resume their peace talks amid deep disagreements on the issue of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
The Palestinians insist on a freeze of all settlement activity before talks restart, while Israel is offering a temporary and limited ease on construction, saying the issue will be resolved during the negotiations.
The official explained to Bibi Netanyahu that if there was a peace settlement, extra investment would push Israel's long-term growth rate from 5% a year to 7%. The Israeli prime minister responded that if the country had 5% growth, it did not need peace.
Canaan (Phoenician: , Kana'n, Hebrew: כנען kna-an, Arabic: كنعان Kanaʿān) is an ancient term for a region encompassing modern-day Israel, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, plus adjoining coastal lands and parts of Jordan, Syria and northeastern Egypt. In the Hebrew Bible, the "Land of Canaan" extends from Lebanon southward across Gaza to the "Brook of Egypt" and eastward to the Jordan River Valley, thus including modern Israel and the Palestinian Territories. In far ancient times, the southern area included various ethnic groups. The Amarna Letters found in Ancient Egypt mention Canaan (Akkadian: Kinaḫḫu) in connection with Gaza and other cities along the Phoenician coast and into Upper Galilee. Many earlier Egyptian sources also make mention of numerous military campaigns conducted in Ka-na-na, just inside Asia.
Originally posted by mattpryor
reply to post by ModernAcademia
Weapons, water distribution and management, etc, are negotiable details aren't they? Stuff that can be worked out by peaceful negotiations?
Surely the first priority should be to get a working Palestinian government with defined borders, then details like that can be sorted out afterwards? Seems a funny thing to get stuck on when both parties have a shared goal of a Palestinian state.
If I were the Israeli government I wouldn't want to see a Palestinian state with its own airforce and army either, at least not yet, given their propensity to attack Israel whenever some religious extremist declares another intifada! Do you really think that's unreasonable?
Originally posted by Desolate Cancer
You are 100% right, but the borders is the real issue. It seems like Israel has not made up its mind on how much land it wants to give the Palestinians