Maj. Gen. (res. ) Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry's diplomatic-security bureau, told a closed forum of senior officials last week that the United Nations General Assembly's recognition of a Palestinian state this coming September is liable to thrust Israel into a state of international isolation "that is no less grave than a war."
A recording of Gilad's comments were aired last night on Channel 10. Gilad said that the leadership of the Palestinian Authority "is today preparing for an international assault on Israel" after September.
Dennis Ross, a special Mideast advisor to the U.S. president, told the Anti-Defamation League yesterday that Washington maintains its opposition to Palestinian efforts to enlist global support for a unilateral declaration of statehood.
"We have consistently made it clear that the way to produce a Palestinian state is through negotiations, not through unilateral declarations, not through going to the UN," Ross said.
In response to a question from an individual who wondered what advice he would give if he were advising Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gilad said that the main issue facing Israel as September approaches is whether Jerusalem is intent on entering into "a partnership of peace [with the Palestinians] and thus sparing [Israel] international pressure or whether it is going to go head-to-head [with them]."
Gilad hinted that the continued diplomatic stalemate could lead to the outbreak of a third intifada. "If you don't go for negotiations, you might buy some stability, but there will also be international isolation," he said. "The isolation would then legitimize riots that could break out as a result of an incident and then ignite a whole fire with the help of Twitter and Facebook."
Gilad's comments are similar to those sounded recently by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. In a speech given last month to the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Barak warned of a "diplomatic tsunami" that would engulf Israel following international recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines. The defense minister said that it was incumbent on Israel to announce a far-reaching diplomatic initiative aimed at ending the conflict with the Palestinians.
Mr. Peres goes to Washington
President Shimon Peres arrived in Washington last night, where he was scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Peres is due to sit down with U.S. President Barack Obama today. The two men are likely to discuss an American aid package for Israel in light of the instability that has swept through the Middle East in recent months.
Peres has also promised the wife of imprisoned spy Jonathan Pollard that he would raise the matter of clemency during his meeting with Obama. The administration has yet to publicly comment on the public campaign for Pollard's release that has gained momentum in recent weeks.
The president is scheduled to meet with Congressional leaders and top media figures tomorrow. In the days leading up to his trip, Peres spent many hours with Netanyahu in preparation.