Israel's New Tactic: Use Cairo Embassy Attack to Argue Against Palestinian Statehood

Foreign Ministry says Palestinians may finish draft of resolution they hope to advance at UN General Assembly by week's end.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Israel's overseas ambassadors have been instructed by the Foreign Ministry to use last weekend's attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo to convince decision-makers in the countries where they serve that United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state will lead to a violent eruption in the West Bank.

Eviatar Manor, head of the ministry's international organizations branch, sent a telegram to this effect to Israel's embassies, under the headline "September - an updated assessment and instructions."

A giant Palestinian flag being displayed outside the European Commission in Brussels yesterday.Credit: Reuters

In the cable, Manor told the envoys to continue their efforts to convince senior foreign officials not to support the Palestinians' statehood bid at the United Nations, and to convey the message that, "What we saw in Cairo demonstrates that, despite the declarations by Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] and other senior Palestinians that they are not planning a violent confrontation, the violence could also come from the street."

Manor also wrote in the cable that although the Palestinians have stated publicly that they are approaching the UN secretary-general about being recognized as a full UN member state, the Foreign Ministry maintains its assumption that this is a tactical ploy.

"The Palestinians are selling their willingness to compromise on an application to the Security Council in exchange for getting support for having the General Assembly upgrade their status to a state that isn't a full member," Manor wrote.

Full members can only be approved by the Security Council, where the United States has threatened to veto the move.

But Manor stressed that applying to the General Assembly isn't really a compromise, because the Palestinians know that full membership isn't realistic - and not just because of an American veto.

"We must stress the fundamental issue of the Palestinians trying to determine the results of negotiations through the United Nations and diplomatic warfare against Israel," Manor wrote. "The Palestinians are trying to convince people that this move will advance the peace process, while we expect exactly the opposite."

According to the ministry's information, the Palestinians may finish the draft of the resolution that they hope to advance in the General Assembly by the end of this week.

"A debate on the Palestinian request is expected to take place on September 27 or later," with a vote not expected until October, Manor wrote.

Manor told the envoys to warn their interlocutors that giving the Palestinians the status of an observer state will also enable them to join international organizations and conventions, which they would leverage to censure Israel in various forums, such as the International Criminal Court in the Hague. They would also use the new status to try to impose measures of sovereignty in the West Bank, Manor wrote.

"This will lead to confrontation and put our economic, security and humanitarian cooperation at risk," he wrote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met yesterday with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and stressed the importance of bilateral talks, while also decrying Palestinian unilateral moves.

Last week he spoke by phone to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to express the same concerns.



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