'Israel should topple Abbas in response to Palestinian UN bid'
Draft Foreign Ministry position paper recommends that Israel take drastic steps if the Palestinian Authority goes ahead with planned bid to have U.N. upgrade its status to that of nonmember observer state.
News Agencies, Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom Staff
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is determined to go ahead with his request for an upgraded Palestinian status in the U.N.
If the Palestinian Authority goes ahead with its bid to ask the U.N. General Assembly to upgrade its status from a "permanent observer entity" to that of a "nonmember observer stat"e, Israel should respond by toppling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and dissolving the PA, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official position paper said.
It is expected that the Palestinians will present their bid to the General Assembly on Nov. 29, the 65th anniversary of the vote on the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan. A draft resolution for the upgrade request has been circulating in diplomatic circles for the past few weeks, and seeks to define the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem as its capital.
The Foreign Ministry paper said that such a unilateral step by the Palestinians should be viewed by Israel as "a crossing of a red line that requires a harsh response." The position paper was circulated internally at the ministry to spark discussions, but also distributed to Israeli and foreign journalists as part of the campaign against Abbas' moves.
The document says U.N. General Assembly approval of the Palestinian request would violate 1990s agreements between the two sides and "give Israel the right to reconsider and nullify" them in whole or in part. "Adoption of the resolution by the General Assembly will have grave consequences, and set in motion unilateral Israeli responses," the ministry communique said, cautioning that it would also complicate future diplomatic progress.
Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon, speaking in a similar vein, told Army Radio on Wednesday that his country would "have to take steps to make it clear that there will be a heavy price" if the statehood petition goes ahead. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also warned previously that a statehood appeal would push peace further away and lead to instability.
As of now, Israel's main goal must be to prevent Abbas from taking that step, the position paper said. There has been no official response from the Prime Minister's Office to the MFA paper released Wednesday. Before the MFA's position paper was sent out on Wednesday morning, Israeli officials warned that the Palestinian step could lead Israel to annul the Oslo Accords and stop transferring taxes that Israel collects for the PA. The latter move would more than likely cause the Palestinian governing body to stop functioning completely. Palestinian Monetary Authority Governor Jihad Al Wazir told Bloomberg News that he has readied the financial system to withstand the repercussions that may follow a planned statehood bid at the United Nations as soon as this month. “The political decision has been taken and the leadership has been very outspoken in saying that there will be repercussions, and we are willing to take these repercussions,” Al Wazir, 49, said in an interview with Bloomberg.
In its position paper, the Israeli Foreign Ministry sounded an ominous note: "If deterrence efforts do not bear fruit, Israel must exact a heavy price from Abbas, including the possibility of toppling his rule and dismantling the Palestinian Authority."
"Although the move is not simple in terms of the consequences Israel will have to deal with, the toppling of Mahmoud Abbas' rule is the only option in this circumstance," the paper said, noting that a softer response would represent "surrender" by Israel.
The paper said that U.N. approval of the Palestinian bid would "crush Israel's deterrence and harm its credibility completely, making it impossible to reach any future agreement that would be acceptable to Israel."
The paper went on to say that if the Palestinians back down from their planned U.N. bid, Israel should reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority on a "Palestinian state with temporary borders for a transition period (until the Arab world stabilizes, new Palestinian Authority elections are held and relations between the West Bank and Gaza Strip are clarified)."
The paper was written by Foreign Ministry staff following the meeting that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman held last week in Vienna with Israel's ambassadors to European Union countries and other consultation meetings.
Lieberman himself said on Wednesday that Abbas' move at the U.N. was "diplomatic terror, pure and simple. We've told everyone involved that we see this as a crossing of all red lines. Abbas has failed in everything he has tried."
Lieberman made the comments in a meeting with students at the Ariel University Center on Wednesday.
"Abbas looks around him and sees the fates of his friends Mubarak, Gadhafi and Ben Ali in the Arab Spring and so he is trying to save himself. There is nothing in the U.N. bid that improves the lives of Palestinians, there is only one motif here — Abbas trying to save himself. Abbas has lost all control over the PA, which doesn't even exist anymore. There is 'Hamastan' in Gaza and 'Fatahland' in Judea and Samaria and there is no connection between them," Lieberman said.
According to the paper from the Foreign Ministry, Abbas' current strategy is based on the assumption that Israel and the U.S., despite their opposition to the Palestinian bid, will not respond harshly to it. Abbas is also motivated by internal challenges facing the Palestinian Authority, mainly the economic situation. The paper also makes the case that Abbas is pushing the U.N. bid to divert attention from the many financial corruption cases he and his sons are allegedly involved in.
Israel has been closely monitoring whether the Palestinian Authority will go ahead with the U.N. bid and the Prime Minister's Office and Foreign Ministry are currently trying to get the U.S. and European nations to pressure Abbas to nix the effort.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Israel Radio Wednesday: "It is a unilateral move with strategic threat on Israel. The logic of a peace process is that it is bilateral. The Oslo process is bilateral not unilateral. His going to the U.N. to get recognition of a Palestinian state without recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and without recognition of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, is a strategic threat for Israel."
He added, "If Abbas is threatening Israel in this serious, strategic way then we may be left with no choice but to topple his rule. Abbas created the situation in Gaza and since then we have had rocket terror from there. Now everyone has to ask what will happen if something similar happens in Jenin and Ramallah. It's a realistic scenario: if we are not in Judea and Samaria then we the security of Israel will be seriously threatened and this we cannot allow. We cannot allow rockets on Kfar Saba and cities in the country's center."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to decide whether to respond to the Palestinian move with steps including annexing parts of Judea and Samaria, halting the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority and cancelling travel permits, among other things. Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, speaking to Israel Radio on Wednesday morning, said that if the Palestinians do go ahead with their U.N. plans, Israel could annex settlement areas in Judea and Samaria. Erdan called on the government to begin planning for such an annexation.
The Prime Minister's Office consulted with the Justice Ministry this week about the legal implications of such steps. One of the main questions was whether the Palestinian bid would represent an annulment of the Oslo Accords.
The upgrading of the Palestinians' status at the U.N. could also lead to a slew of administrative issues for Israel.
Abbas has embarked on a trip to Arab nations ahead of the planned U.N. bid. On Tuesday, Abbas met with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and updated him on the situation.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Army Radio on Wednesday that "we are not going to the U.N. to isolate Israel, but rather to preserve the Oslo Accords."
"Even if Mother Teresa was appointed Palestinian president, or if Thomas Jefferson became the chairman, Lieberman would say that there is no partner and that you have to kill them," Erekat said.
"The Oslo Accords have already been annulled and crushed by the Israelis," Erekat asserted. "The agreement was supposed to be implemented 14 years ago. Israel's strategy is to preserve the occupation."
The Palestinians are currently considered an observer "entity" at the U.N.
Frustrated that their bid for full U.N. membership last year failed amid U.S. opposition in the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians launched a watered-down bid for recognition as a nonmember state, similar to the Vatican's U.N. status.
The proposal would implicitly recognize Palestinian statehood and could also grant access to bodies such as the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where they could file war crimes suits against Israel and Israeli officials.
The upgrade seems certain to win approval in any vote in the 193-nation General Assembly, which is composed mostly of post-colonial states historically sympathetic to the Palestinians.
Israel and the U.S. say Palestinian statehood must be achieved by negotiation and have called on Abbas to return to the peace talks that collapsed in 2010.
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Tuesday that the Obama administration's special Mideast peace envoy, David Hale, would meet with Abbas on Wednesday in Switzerland to try to persuade him not to go to the General Assembly.
"We're still at the stage where we're actively trying to convince them that this is a bad idea, that this is not going to get them the results ultimately that they seek," Toner said. "We've been clear in the past about what some of the consequences that this would generate, or engender."
Hamas has slammed the PA move, saying it does not represent the majority of Palestinians.
It is simple, Oslo is dead and never should have had life to begin with.
Israel only need do the following to stop all the actions of the Palestinians both in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and the UN.
1. Stop protecting the PA, Hamas will kill them all in a matter of days.
2. Stop funding the PA, zero funds into the PA. The PA police will kill the PA in a matter of days.
3. Stop giving the PA electricity, phones, cell phones, internet, both in Gaza and J&S. Nothing for Palestinian use.
4. Stop the over 1000 semi trucks each week that bring supplies into Gaza.
5. Order a cold beer for the nation and wait for a week 10 days then reassess the situation on the ground.
6. Beg forgiveness of the Jews Israel threw out of Gaza.
7. Be ready to move the IDF into where ever we need to and stay there, forever.
8. Annex Judea and Samaria.
9. Have the courage to do the above 8 steps.
10. Ask the people of Israel to pray.