Lieberman Warns of 'Tough' Israeli Reaction if UN Approves Palestinian Statehood

FM tells Army Radio that if UN would pass the one-sided resolution it would have tough repercussions, says he welcomes the Quartet's proposal to open negotiations.

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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday there would be "tough repercussions" if the United Nations approved a Palestinian application for statehood.

Lieberman did not spell out what action Israel would take if the world body backed the application made on Friday by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN General Assembly.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, left, listens to speeches during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011.Credit: AP

In the past Lieberman has suggested severing ties with Abbas' Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, if it wins recognition without a peace deal with Israel.

Israel's closest ally, the United States, has said it would block the resolution, which means a Palestinian state would fall short of achieving full UN membership.

But Israel is concerned that, even if Washington vetoes the motion in the Security Council, it could still win more limited approval in the General Assembly, where any vote can pass by a simple majority.

"If the Palestinians will indeed pass a one-sided resolution if not in the Security Council then the General Assembly, that would bring us to an altogether new situation and this would have repercussions, tough repercussions," Lieberman said in an interview on Israel Radio.

"Any unilateral step will without a doubt bring an Israeli reaction," Lieberman added.
Israel has insisted Palestinians would only be able to win statehood through negotiations, and has said both sides would need to agree on border and security arrangements.

Lebanon's UN ambassador said the UN Security Council would meet on Monday to discuss Abbas's application.

Peace talks stalled a year ago in a dispute over the building of Israeli settlements on land in the West Bank.

The Quartet of Middle East power brokers, made up of the United States, the European Union, Russia and UN, proposed a new plan on Friday, urging Israel and the Palestinians to meet within a month and set a new agenda for talks.

The Quartet proposal calls for deadline at the end of 2012 for achieving a peace deal that would result in Palestinian statehood alongside Israel, in territories Israel captured in a 1967 war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed the Quartet's call for direct talks.

Lieberman also welcomed the idea, telling Army Radio that "with all the reservations we have regarding the Quartet [proposal], we are ready to open immediate negotiations" with the Palestinians.

Israeli media said senior cabinet ministers would debate the plan at a session on Monday. Abbas has said he would discuss the ideas with Palestine Liberation Organization leaders and other senior Palestinian officials.



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