Four days before the UN votes on the Palestinians’ bid to upgrade its status to that of a “non-member observer state,” the State of Israel has yet to form any official position on the matter. The UN General Assembly is expected to grant the appeal, and members of the Israeli leadership have expressed various positions in regards to the political response.
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is certain that Israel should respond fiercely and topple the rule of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. On the other hand, those who advocate a more moderate approach claim that Israel’s political power is limited after the Gaza operation and that Israel should therefore judge Abbas by his actions after the bid.
Those behind this approach – including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon and ministers Dan Meridor and Benny Begin – claim that only if the Palestinian president files suits against Israel in the International Criminal Court in the Hague, then Israel should perceive him as a hostile entity and work towards taking down his government.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz spoke out in favor of freezing funds to the Palestinian Authority in case the Palestinian UN bid passes the UN vote.
Though officials within the Israeli leadership disagree over the proper response to the move, any controversies are slated to be resolved within the next few days. The Foreign Ministry is set to convene on Monday to discuss diplomatic strategies ahead of the vote.
The diplomatic efforts, led by the Foreign Ministry, will focus on utilizing ties with as many countries as possible, in order to strengthen the opposition to the Palestinian bid.
The diplomatic efforts are however fruitless at the moment, as it appears that only a few states will oppose the Palestinian bid, among which are the United States, Israel, Canada, Czech and possibly Germany.
According to estimates of the Foreign Ministry, 12 to 15 countries are expected to vote in favor of the Palestinians, including: Spain, Malta, Ireland, Portugal, Luxemburg, Sweden, Belgium and possibly France.
Britain and Italy are still undecided, and Israeli diplomats are working to convince representatives to at least abstain. Israeli experts estimate that Abbas is expected to gain a majority of 130-150 states at the UN.
An official in the Prime Minister’s Office said that “Though this would be a decision with a strictly symbolic meaning, it would be a unilateral move that would break all the rules. If the Palestinians break the rules then Israel can too.”
Lieberman will be staying in New York on November 29, when Abbas will present the status upgrade bid to the UN, but the foreign minister has no intention of being present at the assembly and confronting the Palestinian president.
Representing Israel is ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor. The Foreign Ministry will probably not be sending any ministerial representation to the UNGA.
Source: Ynet News