Israel informed the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council last week, as well as several other prominent European Union countries, that if the Palestinian Authority persists in its efforts to gain recognition in September as a state within the 1967 borders, Israel would respond with a series of unilateral steps of its own.
Senior Foreign Ministry officials said the ministry’s director general, Rafael Barak, sent a classified cable last week to more than 30 Israeli embassies, directing them to lodge a diplomatic protest at the highest possible level in response to the Palestinian efforts to gain international recognition for statehood at the UN General Assembly session in September. [….]
European diplomats have confirmed to Haaretz that such a message was conveyed several days ago. One diplomat said his country did not receive a serious response when asked what unilateral steps Israel might take. Another diplomat, from a European country, said in light of the current deadlock in negotiations, international recognition of Palestinian statehood appeared unavoidable in September.
Foreign Ministry sources said no decision has been taken at this stage over a possible Israeli response to UN recognition of Palestinian statehood, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not held any major discussion of such a response on a formal level among his cabinet colleagues. Ideas have been floated on the right wing of the political spectrum in recent weeks, suggesting, for example, that Israel might apply Israeli law to the West Bank or annex major settlement blocs to Israel. [….]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met on Sunday in Ramallah with former Knesset member Yossi Beilin and told him that the Palestinian Authority would not engage in further negotiations with Israel after September. Senior Palestinian sources added, however, that if negotiations are resumed before September and make progress, the Palestinians would be prepared to defer efforts to gain UN recognition of statehood.
Abbas told Beilin that it would be possible to engage in three months of talks in an effort to achieve progress before September, but Netanyahu would have to suspend construction in the West Bank settlements during that period.
Israel kills Palestinian Children in Gaza
[….] Tension between Israel and the Palestinians mounted on Tuesday after Israeli artillery shelling killed seven people, including three children, and wounded 10 others in response to Gaza militants’ homemade rocket attacks on southern Israeli communities.
The Israeli artillery fired six tank shells on Tuesday afternoon at a house and a soccer playground in Sheja’eya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, killing four, including three children and an old man, and wounding 10 others, Palestinian medics and witnesses told Xinhua. [….]
UN chief: Israel occupation ‘morally and politically unsustainable’
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel Wednesday to halt settlement building in the West Bank and put a stop to all forms of violence and incitement, the UN News Center reported.
Speaking in Uruguay at the UN Latin American and Caribbean Meeting in support of Middle East peace Ban said it was a “crucial time” for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“Time is of the essence in realizing the two-State solution, ” Ban said, “the occupation that started in 1967 is morally and politically unsustainable, and must end. The Palestinians have a legitimate right to the establishment of an independent and viable State of their own.”
“The target dates for reaching an Israeli-Palestinian agreement on permanent status issues and completing the Palestinian Authority’s two-year State-building program are fast-approaching. Yet, the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations remain at a worrying standstill. We must intensify efforts to break the deadlock,” he added.
Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians hit a standstill in September after Israel resumed building in the West Bank following a moratorium on settlement building.
The secretary general continued, saying “actions that prejudge the outcome of the process must stop,” referring to Israel’s continued settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem , demolition of Palestinian homes and other forms of violence and incitement.
Ban then commended the Palestinian Authority for its efforts, the UN News center report said, praising the PA’s efforts to establish state institutions, enforce security in the West Bank and receive international funding and recognition of its statehood goals.
The UN chief chastised Israel, the report said, calling on the government to take the necessary steps to improve economic and security conditions for Palestinians by removing obstacles to freedom of movement, stopping military operations and enhancing the PA’s scope of influence in the West Bank.
Ban also implored Israel to further ease its blockade in Gaza, the report said, which has been under Hamas control since 2007.