Israel calls its own bluff on the Palestinian Authority’s UN bid

on 64 Comments
UN bid
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas waves to the crowd during a rally supporting the Palestinian UN bid for observer state status, in the West Bank city of Ramallah (Photo: Nasser Shiyoukhi/AP)

After weeks of threatening substantive punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it went through with its bid for non-member observer status at the United Nations, Israel has made clear it will do nothing of the sort. It is an entirely predictable move centered on the very true premise that the Palestinian Authority is the best thing Israel has going for itself. 

Haaretz’ Barak Ravid reports that “after long weeks of Israel viewing the Palestinian bid in the United Nations as a grave threat, the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry now have to back down.” The pivot from threatening to collapse the PA to saying they will now do essentially nothing is quite stark.

Over the past few months, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has, of course, taken the lead in blustering about PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ plan to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem–22% of historic Palestine. Abbas is set to watch the vote at the UN tomorrow.

Lieberman called Abbas’ moves “diplomatic terror” in September.  Earlier this month, the Foreign Ministry also leaked to Haaretz their plans for punishing the PA. The possible measures leaked to Haaretz included a settlement building drive in the West Bank; limits on travel in the West Bank, particularly for PA officials; economic sanctions, like “freezing the tax funds that Israel collects monthly for the Palestinian Authority, which would prevent the PA from paying the salaries of its employees and security personnel; and “cancelling the Paris agreement, an economic appendix of the Oslo accords that regulates economic ties between Israel and the PA.”

None of that will happen. Haaretz has more:

After long weeks of Israel viewing the Palestinian bid in the United Nations as a grave threat, the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry now have to back down. Sources associated with Netanyahu and Lieberman are trying to belittle the event in the United Nations and describe it as merely a technical and procedural vote or as a symbolic Palestinian victory devoid of diplomatic significance.

The new Israeli policy involves lowering its media profile. The haughty assertion that Israel will punish the Palestinians the day after the UN vote has disappeared. Lieberman’s impassioned threats to bring down the Palestinian Authority have also been put in storage.

A senior diplomatic source pointed out that with regard to the Israeli reaction, “lowering the profile” will be key. He said that, despite the previous threats, Israel does not intend to cancel the Oslo Accords, either in whole or in part . The idea raised in the forum of nine ministers to announce the construction of 3,000 new housing units in the settlements was dropped because Netanyahu and the other ministers realized this would scuttle Israel’s public diplomacy efforts.

“We examined different ways to react, but eventually the ministers realized that almost whatever we do will hurt Israel at least as much as it will hurt the Palestinians,” the senior diplomatic source said. “If the [Palestinian] Authority collapses, it will fall on our heads. We don’t have to draw fire immediately after the vote – it’s preferable for the Palestinians to be under pressure to renew the negotiations, as they promised.”

The United States had reportedly warned Israel against moves like building in the contentious E1 area of East Jerusalem to punish the PA, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now come around to the US position as well. The US and Israel, of course, know the PA serves as Israel’s subcontractor in the West Bank. 

As Adam Shatz aptly put it in the London Review of Books, the arrangement Israel and the PA have is nothing short of extraordinary: ”the security forces of a country under occupation are being subcontracted by third parties outside the region to prevent resistance to the occupying power, even as that power continues to grab more land.” Both the US and Israel have no interest in disturbing that arrangement. 

At most, Israel will carry out symbolic moves to make clear their displeasure at the UN bid without threatening the stability of continued PA rule in the West Bank. Haaretz reported that Israel may “stop ignoring the Palestinians’ infringement of agreements between the sides and will irritate PA President Mahmoud Abbas by insisting on enacting every clause of every one of the agreements.”

The “lowered profile” of Israel in response to the UN bid comes as PA officials make clear they will not be rushing to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israel for war crimes, even if they have the opportunity. “I don’t believe that we are going to be rushing the second day to join everything related to the United Nations, including the ICC,” a Palestinian spokesman said yesterday. That reassurance, while leaving open the possibility of future ICC action, will do a lot to temper the US and European reaction to the bid. 

Some European nations in recent days have begun to say that they will support the UN bid. France has become the most high-profile country to pledge support for the PA‘s UN gambit. Spain, too, has pledged support. 

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement today that “while there is no question of the United Kingdom voting against the resolution, in order to vote for it we would need certain assurances or amendments.” These reassurances include “a clear commitment to return immediately to negotiations without preconditions” and a pledge from the PA to refrain from going to the ICC. If those conditions are not met, the UK is likely to abstain from the vote. 

Hague also hinted at another motivation for why Europe is backing Abbas now: Gaza. “The crisis in Gaza and tragic loss of Palestinian and Israeli life shows why the region and the world cannot afford this vacuum in the peace process,” said Hague. Behind the scenes, though, there is likely a recognition that the latest assault on Gaza only boosted the prestige of Hamas, and that backing Abbas is a way of lowering that prestige and boosting the PA.

But there’s also some interesting news on that front: Hamas leaders have come out to say they support the UN bid. This news comes as Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank continue to call for reconciliation between the Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas, especially in the wake of the Gaza assault. 

So where does this all leave us? The PA will garner substantial support for their bid for statehood. But they will then come under intense pressure from Europe and the US to renew negotiations with Israel. Whether or not the PA accedes to that pressure, nothing on the ground will change as a result of the bid. The PA will remain propped up by the West and Israel, an integral part of how Israel manages to carry out its occupation. For those hoping for a game changer in Israel/Palestine, you’ll have to look at things other than the UN bid.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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64 Responses

  1. RobertB
    November 28, 2012, 11:32 am

    Where’s Our Humanity For Gaza?

    By Sara Roy

    “November 26, 2012 “Boston Globe” -November 23, 2012 – – Between February 2009 — just after the Operation Cast Lead onslaught — and August 2012, Israeli attacks in Gaza, averaging six per week. They came by aircraft, helicopter gunships, drones, and tanks throughout Gaza; the confiscation of, or damage to, fishing boats and the detention and arrest of fishermen; attacks on industrial, farm, and food production facilities; and military ground incursions.

    The current crisis is framed in terms devoid of any real context. The issue goes far beyond which side precipitated the terrible violence that has killed innocents on both sides. The issue — largely forgotten — is one of continued occupation and blockade, a grossly asymmetrical conflict that has deliberately and systematically disabled Gaza’s economy and people.

    The Gaza Strip is now in its 46th year of occupation, 22nd year of closure, and sixth year of intensified closure. The resulting normalization of the occupation assumes a dangerous form in the Gaza Strip, whose status as an occupied territory has ceased to matter in the West; the attention has shifted — after Hamas’s 2006 electoral victory and 2007 takeover of the territory — to Gaza’s containment and punishment, rendering illegitimate any notion of human rights or freedom for Palestinians.

    The Israeli government has referred to its siege policy as a form of “economic warfare.” In a Nov. 2008 cable from the US embassy in Tel Aviv released by WikiLeaks, US officials wrote, “As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed . . . on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge” with the aim of having Gaza’s economy “functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.” This was achieved through an Israeli-imposed blockade that ended all normal trade.”


    {Sara Roy is senior research scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University and author of “Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza: Engaging the Islamist Social Sector.”}

    Click on link for the rest of details:

  2. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    November 28, 2012, 11:46 am

    ‘Anti-War’ has reported that Abbas has stood up to the immense pressure put on him by the US and UK to agree to a condition whereby the Palestinians will not file charges against Israelis in the ICC.

    Abbas has a backbone. Who knew?

    Seems to me that the Israelis have quietly accepted that UN recognition is going to happen, whether they like it or not – and obviously they don’t like it one bit. And it’s a bit pathetic to hear the likes of William ‘foetus’ Hague acting as though Britain’s vote or abstention was a big deal. This is the General Assembly, Mr Hague, not the UNSC. Britain’s vote is no more or less relevant than that of Burkina Faso. Get over yourself.

    • BillM
      November 28, 2012, 4:23 pm

      I don’t know that Abbas has backbone so much as the Israeli attack on Gaza so undermined him that if he now waives away any right to pursue legal action, he’ll be utterly exposed and likely overthrown. I still don’t expect Abbas to actually ACT and take Israel to the ICC.

      • Hostage
        November 29, 2012, 3:14 am

        I still don’t expect Abbas to actually ACT and take Israel to the ICC.

        Abbas already has filed an Article 12(3) declaration with the ICC accepting the Court’s jurisdiction for all crimes committed on the territory of Palestine since July of 2002. The former Prosecutor said he didn’t have the authority to settle the dispute over its statehood, but the General Assembly recognition of the 1988 Unilateral declaration of Statehood will settle that question. Palestine should not have to become a member state, but that may be the only way to force the Prosecutor to take action.

    • lysias
      November 28, 2012, 5:46 pm

      Britain’s vote in the General Assembly matters, because every vote of an EU country matters, because Israel depends on its economic relations with the EU. The more EU countries vote for Palestinian recognition, the more those economic relations are threatened, at least potentially and in the long run.

  3. HarryLaw
    November 28, 2012, 11:46 am

    Pressure from the US,UK and other European diplomats to get the Palestinians to sign away their rights to go to the ICC for Israeli war crimes is despicable “don’t even go there” Clinton told Erekat, another unnamed diplomat said “taking Israel to the court is a real red line” Guardian see here: Its that kind of language which makes people turn to violence, with justification. Its one thing bad as that would be for the Palestinians to forgo Israeli accountability for past war crimes, it beggars belief that so called democracies could ask the Palestinians to stay away from the court when war crimes including ethnic cleansing and population transfers in breach of international law are occurring every day and more violence is promised by the Israeli leadership in the future [mowing the lawn every few years] I hope the Palestinians give these criminals no quarter. Just on a side note I usually don’t like ad hominem attacks, but as a possible future US president, and considering how the Americans love a personality, in my opinion Hillary Clinton is as thick as two short planks.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      November 28, 2012, 4:18 pm

      Another question is: Why the hell do the Brits and Yanks care if Palestine takes Livni or Netanyahu to the ICC? What’s it to them? Do they think, for one millisecond, that anyone in Israel would give a toss if any British or American politician was charged with war crimes?

      The extent to which ‘western’ nations will compromise themselves to shield the rogue state of Israel is astounding, particularly given that they get absolutely NOTHING in return.

    • American
      November 28, 2012, 5:42 pm

      ““don’t even go there” Clinton told Erekat, another unnamed diplomat said “taking Israel to the court is a real red line” …says Hillary

      So what is the US going to do if Palestine does? Starve them, bomb them?….make a spectacle of ourselves by killing people to keep them from lawfully pursuing justice in the world’s court according to international laws?

      • seafoid
        November 29, 2012, 3:09 am

        Don’t even go there is the language of those who know Israel’s occupation is built on sand.

      • Hostage
        November 29, 2012, 3:29 am

        So what is the US going to do if Palestine does? Starve them, bomb them?….make a spectacle of ourselves by killing people to keep them from lawfully pursuing justice in the world’s court according to international laws?

        Read Section 2008 of The Hague Invasion ActThe so-called “American Service-Members’ Protection Act”:


        AUTHORITY- The President is authorized to use all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any person described in subsection (b) who is being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court.

        PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO BE FREED- The authority of subsection (a) shall extend to the following persons:

        Covered United States persons.

        Covered allied persons.

        Individuals detained or imprisoned for official actions taken while the individual was a covered United States person or a covered allied person, and in the case of a covered allied person, upon the request of such government.

  4. seafoid
    November 28, 2012, 12:28 pm

    “The PA will remain propped up by the West and Israel, an integral part of how Israel manages to carry out its occupation”

    I dunno really. It looks as though Jabotinksy thinking has run into a wall and that Israeli Jews need to wake up and smell the coffee. The status quo is no longer sustainable.

    I honestly don’t think that Israeli Jews and their relations in the Diaspora can pull YESHA off successfully. They couldn’t even sell Operation Defensive cloud to the world. Israel is now a liability. Michael Oren can’t do anything. Sure they have a core constituency of dumb Americans but Romney couldn’t even get a majority with them.

    The whole project is based on a legal fiction- “state land” is terra nullus. 800,000 settlers don’t overturn that fact.

    Maybe things won’t change immediately but over time Israel’s fundamental weakness will become more apparent.

    Zionism is incompatible with the values of any religion.

    • Mooser
      November 28, 2012, 4:57 pm

      “Zionism is incompatible with the values of any religion.”

      Any religion? Even their own? I really doubt that. If you need the kind of sacrifice Zionism requires, and religion is a way to get it, you make damn good and sure the values of your ideology and religion mesh well. You can’t ask people to sacrifice their humanity, maybe even their lives, without giving them something in return.

      • aiman
        November 28, 2012, 8:34 pm

        Revolutionary ideologies which sit atop religions these days are indeed incompatible with religions. Just one example, Netanyahu spoke of how Israel is the master of its own destiny. Any human being or nation that believes that they are the masters of their own destiny, even more eggregiously that of others, are only deluding themselves. Not even Ghenghis Khan was the master of his destiny.

      • piotr
        November 28, 2012, 9:49 pm

        Religion is about uniting people for the common good and overriding their selfish instincts. Aztec priests identified the chief danger of the whole humanity: the Sun that nourishes us all may die. Also, the way to avert that danger: nourishing the Sun with fresh hearts of war captives, thus mobilizing selfless Aztec warriors to launch periodic little wars and to get and deliver those captives.

        Rabbinates of Israel (they seem to have at least three, but they agree) also identified the chief danger to humanity (at least the part that counts) and it also requires periodic little wars.

      • eljay
        November 29, 2012, 11:48 am

        >> Religion is about uniting people for the common good and overriding their selfish instincts.

        That description makes religion seem far more noble than it actually is.

        Religion is about creating a tribal mindset and controlling people. The “selfish interests” of the person are melded into or over-ridden by the selfish interests of the religion and its tribe of (willing and unwilling) adherents.

        On a side note, it’s funny how those Aztec high priests never thought to sacrifice their own hearts to save all of humanity. I’d wager that the war captives asked to die for the common good of the Aztecs didn’t enjoy having their selfish instincts over-ridden. ;-)

      • aiman
        November 30, 2012, 7:14 pm

        Do you think the atheist Christopher Hitchens was not tribal? Tribalism is everywhere. Even Darwin was tribal, as was Orwell. Only Tolstoy, of all European thinkers, rose above it most demonstrably as is revealed in ‘Bethink Yourselves’ one of the greatest essays written. I can’t name many writers who are not tribal. Tolstoy says he is only interested in truth and love and service to fellow man. The post-9/11 bombing of Afghanistan is in my view an incredibly tribal act, a form of honour killing on a mass scale as was the atrocities of 9/11. Dawkins says 9/11 ‘came for religion’, he never updated his views on later events, which is the proof of the intellectual dishonesty or shallowness of New Atheism. Ask Rita Lasar where tribalism comes from.

      • aiman
        November 30, 2012, 7:37 pm

        Also just to add: wherever religion plays a role as a major identity in the contemporary world, it can indeed be a source of and strengthen tribalism. When a religion is tied to ethnicity or land, it becomes deeply problematic. However, if one understands religion as above borders and identities, as a universal with brotherhood and equality, it can succeed even past enlightened secular perspectives which come with their own historical baggage. This form of religion, elucidated by Tolstoy in ‘Bethink Yourselves’, is what I mean, and not dogmas and superstitions.

      • eljay
        December 1, 2012, 5:41 pm

        >> Tribalism is everywhere.

        I don’t disagree. And I never said it wasn’t.

        >> However, if one understands religion as above borders and identities, as a universal with brotherhood and equality …

        A universal with brotherhood (and sisterhood) and equality does not require religion and god(s). Religion is nothing more than a layer of “mystical” tribalism.

        In my very humble opinion only, of course. :)

    • john h
      November 28, 2012, 9:53 pm

      Zionism has become its own religion. As Jabotinsky said of its rationale, “there is no other morality”. Israel is the prize, what the knee is bowed to. And an eternal war footing for real or manufactured enemies comes with the territory.

  5. American
    November 28, 2012, 12:49 pm

    Cinton’s warning might have had something to do with Israel’s about face. Can’t prove it and have nothing concrete to point to, but I get the feeling BO adm is acting ‘indirectly’in some cases …..saying one thing for public consumption and saying something else in private to Natanyahu.
    I am not as pessimistic as Alex about Abbas not changing his subservient role to US-Isr. He wasn’t too subservient in telling the US & UK to fuck off with their demand he not approach the ICC. A lot of changes are converging that could give Abbas more independence from Irs’merica…if he will make use of them. UN recognition gives some political leverage, Hamas seconding that gives him some leverage, some of the ME states rallying around Hamas also gives Palestine as a whole some leverage.

    Clinton warns Netanyahu not to punish Palestinian Authority for UN bid

    link to

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during her talks in Israel this week not to take any extreme actions in response to the Palestinian move in the United Nations for recognition as a non-member state.

    • piotr
      November 28, 2012, 10:15 pm

      I suspect that the true warning was delivered by military intelligence.

      The main preoccupation of IDF is the little war on villages in Area C and expansion of settlements. It is a labor-intensive effort that requires many conscripts. It is feasible because big majority of Palestinians in West Bank are relatively pacified with a combination of patronage jobs of PA and other economic opportunities secured by PA, and very frequent arrests and other forms of intimidation by both PA security and IDF.

      To survive, Abbas (or PA as institution) has to perform within rather narrow parameters. He has to collect enough funds to run the patronage and security, and he also has to do something to show that he is not solely a quisling or Judenrat. If not the campaign in UN and promises to use the access to ICC, then what else? Demonstrations again Israeli oppression? Would that please USA and Israel better? If not, what else? Frankly, I have no idea.

      Sanctions on PA would undermine patronage and salaries of PA security goons, which in one fell swoop would lead to demonstrations and crumbling of the security. And we are not talking about 100 demonstrators here or there. Removing Abbas as Lieberman idiotically proposed could crumble the security that much faster. This whole topic was already tested before, recall the issue of Unesco.

      In good old days Israel could simply provoke an Intifada and suppress bloodily. But even the wee operation “Israel under Cloud” was not an easy sell. It is a bit like in the movie “Tinmen”. You can know all tricks of the salesmanship, but you cannot do it forever with the same products, and with the same tricks.

  6. Les
    November 28, 2012, 12:52 pm

    “The US and Israel, of course, know the PA serves as Israel’s subcontractor in the West Bank.” Judenrat.

  7. Taxi
    November 28, 2012, 1:32 pm

    For those interested, you can watch the UN Palestine Upgrade Vote tomorrow here:

    Check for time of event early tomorrow morning – NY time.

    Ooooooh you’ve come along way Palestine you little cutie!

  8. ahhiyawa
    November 28, 2012, 1:42 pm

    I’m not at all surprised at Israeli fecklessness and weakness. Abbas should have struck last year instead of caving to senseless fear & empty threats, wasting another year to no purpose. For Palestinians sake maybe Abbas has learned to grow a pair in this affair.

    • talknic
      November 28, 2012, 4:52 pm

      “For Palestinians sake maybe Abbas has learned to grow a pair in this affair.”

      Uh? Last year wasn’t the time for this. The gentleman has been quietly and doggedly taking logical steps towards this point. UNESCO opened the door a little. This will open the door a little wider.

      You ought remember Abbas has been working towards moments like these ALL HIS LIFE!

    • lysias
      November 28, 2012, 5:48 pm

      The threats Abbas paid attention to were probably from the U.S. And Obama got something out of this: UN recognition is now coming after Obama was re-elected.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 28, 2012, 11:12 pm

        yes, obama asked him to delay it til after the US election.

  9. Theo
    November 28, 2012, 1:53 pm

    Bravo to Sara Roy and the Boston Globe, you just reenstated my belief in the people of Boston. Please keep it up, bring the truth, at last.

  10. Rusty Pipes
    November 28, 2012, 1:58 pm

    Given all of the excitement and energy expended in the build-up to Thursday’s action at the UN to make Palestine and observer state, it’s understandable that the delegation wouldn’t follow that action on Friday “to join everything related to the United Nations, including the ICC.” Perhaps they can start working on that on Monday after a good rest over the weekend.

  11. HemiFaulk
    November 28, 2012, 2:24 pm

    It is a sad, sad story

    What’s going on in Quinetra, Golan Heights these days? Still got that oil pipeline moving Petro?

    “Since Israel returned the city to Syria in 1974 the original home owners still return every weekend to sit next to their flattened houses, to eat and “relax” in a dead city that was systematically destroyed over 30 years ago. ”

  12. seafoid
    November 28, 2012, 2:33 pm

    “Israeli ambassadors worldwide have been instructed to pressure every country to publish an announcement, regardless of how they will vote, emphasizing that the borders of the Palestinian state and the other core issues will be decided only by direct negotiations with Israel. The ambassadors have been asked to demand that the announcements will acknowledge that this symbolic decision does not change facts on the ground and does not recognize Palestinian sovereignty over the West Bank, Gaza Strip or East Jerusalem.”

    They say they’ve got control of you
    But that’s not true you know
    They say they’re a part of you
    And that’s a lie you know
    They say you will never be
    Free free free

  13. seafoid
    November 28, 2012, 2:53 pm

    Celebrate. The YESHA party’s over . Israel’s going home

    • Walid
      November 29, 2012, 1:49 am

      Israel will probably celebrate too; its worst demographic nightmare of a bi-national state is coming to an end.

  14. talknic
    November 28, 2012, 3:48 pm

    Meanwhile, in Australia. Read this hilarious and desperate dump

    The poor sod is chained to the Hasbarrow as it goes up in smoke…

    • piotr
      November 28, 2012, 4:22 pm

      talknic, I will sue you! warning: do not open the link if you can spill hot beverage, fall form your chair or suffer from a similar risk. Now read slowly before opening: the title “Upgraded status will do nothing to turn Hamas from genocidal path” is illustrated with a photo of a dangeous Hamasnik following that path. More precisely, a cart of tomato crates is pulled by a donkey and negotiates a street full of ruins.

      The only missing thing is the soundtrack of “Attack of the killer tomatoes”.

    • Sumud
      November 28, 2012, 6:24 pm

      …And Australia will be abstaining in the UN vote despite Gillard really Really REALLY wanting to vote NO for Palestine – she faced a revolt from within her own party if she voted no, and the Israeli Gov is said to be fuming mad – ha ha ha!!!

      This interesting snippet:

      Despite a tradition of staunch support for Israel from the Right, Labor’s already precarious prospects in western Sydney electorates with a high concentration of people of Middle Eastern backgrounds was a key factor requiring a more balanced approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

      When the time comes, when Australians demand a more balanced policy on I/P, demented Israel will be thrown under the bus without a second thought – and the time is coming. The interesting thing is the opposition party Liberals are even more pro-Israel than Labour, but the Australian Greens (who lean to Palestine) are on the rise and progressive Labour voters are jumping ship for the Greens.

      Gillard rolled on Palestine

    • thankgodimatheist
      November 29, 2012, 7:02 am

      Not surprising..Yuval Rotem is the Israeli ambassador to Australia. Packages like this should always include a vomit bag.

  15. talknic
    November 28, 2012, 3:56 pm
  16. Annie Robbins
    November 28, 2012, 4:56 pm

    interesting alex tho i find it odd the threat to annex is completely off the radar in haaretz’s press report.

    last week:

    MK Yariv Levin (Likud), chairman of the Knesset’s House Committee, told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday that he has a bill that calls to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria that is ready to be submitted for Knesset approval.

    Levin said that if the Palestinian Authority goes ahead with its statehood bid at the United Nations, he will submit his bill for approval immediately after January’s election.

    “Regardless of the Palestinian move we should have applied sovereignty long ago,” said Levin, “but the unilateral move by the Palestinians is a good time to do so.”

    from today:

    Danny Dayan, who heads of the unofficial federation of communities in Judea and Samaria known as the Yesha Council, sent a letter to the Prime Minister Wednesday demanding an immediate response to the Palestinian Authority’s bid for UN recognition.

    He asked Binyamin Netanyahu to decide upon retaliatory steps to the unilateral Palestinian Authority (PA) move without delay and vote upon them in Sunday’s Cabinet meeting.

    • seafoid
      November 28, 2012, 5:04 pm

      The Knesset vs the UN.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 28, 2012, 5:08 pm

        from jpost today:

        He added: “We must tell them, if you pursue a unilateral strategy at the UN, We will pursue a unilateral strategy in annexing settlements in the West Bank.”

        Read the full story

        then you click on the link and it says nothing about the annexing part. hmmm.

      • Sibiriak
        December 3, 2012, 10:40 am

        We will pursue a unilateral strategy in annexing settlements in the West Bank

        As if they ever intended to do anything else.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 28, 2012, 5:36 pm


        Likud: The Party of Annexation

        All sources are in Hebrew:

        they have been talking about this all week.

      • Alex Kane
        November 28, 2012, 6:47 pm

        Yeah, for sure, annexation talk is ramping up because of the UN bid. And the Likud Party’s newest top members are right-wing annexationists. But that does not mean moves to annex will come about as a result. Far from it. The status quo is too good for Netanyahu right now to disturb it. Creeping and quiet annexation of Area C has been going on, but no formal moves will be initiated as a result of the UN bid (in my reading)

      • Annie Robbins
        November 28, 2012, 7:34 pm

        no formal moves will be initiated as a result of the UN bid

        Levin (chairman of the Knesset’s House Committee) said he would submit his bid after the elections if abbas went thru with it, i tend to believe him. which is not the same as saying they’ll have enough votes, but submitting it is a formal move and i can’t imagine this not being a hot issue in their election. anyway, i look forward to your continued coverage and analysis alex.

      • Hostage
        November 29, 2012, 4:00 am

        The status quo is too good for Netanyahu right now to disturb it.

        The status quo really won’t work anymore. Palestine is a high contracting party to the Geneva Conventions. The Oslo Accords never authorized Israel to transfer Palestinians to prisons outside the occupied territory. Israel will have to start treating uniformed militia members as POWs, & etc. ad infinitum.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 30, 2012, 2:17 pm

        well hostage, we got our answer and it sure didn’t take long.

        trending on twitter: What journalists are saying about East Jerusalem

        So much for UNbid not changing things on ground

      • Hostage
        November 30, 2012, 7:53 pm

        well hostage, we got our answer and it sure didn’t take long.

        I already figured the Israelis would double down. It’s too late for them to benefit from heeding any of the warnings. They’re just dusting off the plans they’ve had sitting on the shelf for years. If they hadn’t used this as an excuse they’d have blamed it on the weather.

        Abbas delivered his apartheid speech to the UN, he should stop in the Hague on the way home and repeat it there for the new Prosecutor:

        We have not heard one word from any Israeli official expressing any sincere concern to save the peace process. On the contrary, our people have witnessed, and continue to witness, an unprecedented intensification of military assaults, the blockade, settlement activities and ethnic cleansing, particularly in Occupied East Jerusalem, and mass arrests, attacks by settlers and other practices by which this Israeli occupation is becoming synonymous with an apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalizes the plague of racism and entrenches hatred and incitement.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 3, 2012, 1:33 am

        Mr. President,
        Ladies and Gentlemen,

        The Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip has confirmed once again the urgent and pressing need to end the Israeli occupation and for our people to gain their freedom and independence. This aggression also confirms the Israeli Government’s adherence to the policy of occupation, brute force and war, which in turn obliges the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and towards peace.

        This is why we are here today.

        I say with great pain and sorrow… there was certainly no one in the world that required that tens of Palestinian children lose their lives in order to reaffirm the above-mentioned facts. There was no need for thousands of deadly raids and tons of explosives for the world to be reminded that there is an occupation that must come to an end and that there are a people that must be liberated. And, there was no need for a new, devastating war in order for us to be aware of the absence of peace.

        This is why we are here today.

        Mr. President,
        Ladies and Gentlemen,

        The Palestinian people, who miraculously recovered from the ashes of Al-Nakba of 1948, which was intended to extinguish their being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence, which was rooted in the depths of their land and depths of history. In those dark days, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were torn from their homes and displaced within and outside of their homeland, thrown from their beautiful, embracing, prosperous country to refugee camps in one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history. In those dark days, our people had looked to the United Nations as a beacon of hope and appealed for ending the injustice and for achieving justice and peace, the realization of our rights, and our people still believe in this and continue to wait.

        This is why we are here today.

        thanks for the link hostage

    • foresomenteneikona
      November 29, 2012, 12:31 am

      Not sure that Levin and Dayan speak for all of Likud. And I am far from sure that Arutz 7 is a reliable source…

  17. American
    November 28, 2012, 6:25 pm

    Wow….the US news channels are spining so hard on Palestine statehood they are flying off their wheels.
    Trying to paint it as…oh no big deal to Israel, Abbas just doing it for domestic political gain.
    The spin is actually geared to reinforcing that * Palestine ‘has to’ negotiate with Israel*…which is, as we all know, the same old load of crap they been dropping for 40 years. And negotiate without pre-conditions mean Israel won’t stop building settlements…..dont think Abbas will go for that.

    • Annie Robbins
      November 28, 2012, 7:27 pm

      Trying to paint it as…oh no big deal to Israel

      yeah of course, they follow israel’s lead on how to spin it.

      • yourstruly
        November 28, 2012, 10:43 pm

        in war as the losing side gets pushed back, it always claims that its forces made a calculated retreat to a more favorable position, or words to that effect.

  18. American
    November 28, 2012, 8:42 pm

    idiots.. There should be a way to ‘price tag’ these pigs.

    Senators Introduce First Effort to Punish Palestinians over UN

    By Lara Friedman on November 28, 2012 5:41 PM |

    The first shot has been fired in the much-anticipated Congressional battle to punish the Palestinians for seeking to upgrade their status at the UN – and to also punish any UN agencies and any countries that support them.

    The vehicle for this attack is S. 3254 – the highly contentious National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate is now considering. For those who keep track of these sorts of things, there is NOTHING in the NDAA that in any way relates to the Palestinians. No funding, no programs – nothing. But that hasn’t stopped Senators Barrasso (R-WY), Lee (R-UT), and Inhofe (R-OK) from introducing an amendment whose purpose is defined as “To provide for restrictions on foreign assistance related to the status of the Palestinian mission to the United Nations.” A copy of the amendment, which was filed this afternoon, is available here. Senator Barrasso’s press release touting introduction of the amendment is available here.

    The amendment seeks to do three things:

    (1) Compel the President to cut U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority by 50% if the PA “seeks at any time after November 25, 2012, at the United Nations General Assembly or any other United Nations entity status different than the status it held on November 25, 2012” — with such cuts continuing “until permanent status issues between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are fully resolved”;

    (2) Compel the President to cut by 50% U.S. “appropriated contributions to any United Nations entity” that grants the Palestinians any upgrade in status after November 25, 2012, with such cuts continuing “until permanent status issues between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are fully resolved”; and

    (3) Compel the President to cut by 20% U.S. assistance to any country that after November 25, 2012 votes to grant the Palestinians full membership in the UN, or votes to grant them non-member state status, or votes to otherwise “alter” the status of the Palestinians at the UN “that interferes with the resolution of permanent status issues between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” with such cuts continuing until the country in question “votes at the United Nations to revert the status of the Palestinian mission back to the status it held on November 25, 2012.” The amendment permits the President to waive this one category of cuts (but not the others) for national security reasons.

    Some observations:

    (a) While the amendment is by any and all measures entirely non-germane to the base bill, that doesn’t mean it won’t be considered and doesn’t mean it won’t pass.

    (b) Nowhere in the amendment – which was filed on November 28th and likely won’t be considered earlier than November 29th (and quite possibly not until AFTER the UN votes on the Palestinian resolution that same day) – is any explanation given for the arbitrary red line of November 25, 2012 – a red line that makes little sense given that it will be legislating as a “threat” a reaction to something that will likely already have transpired.

    (c) While the amendment frames the sanctions in terms of a reaction to actions that are “undermining Israeli-Palestinian Permanent Status Negotiations,” the “findings” section of the amendment – the place where normally one would expect the amendment’s drafters to at least make a pretense of building a case in support of the amendment’s legislative goals – offers zero rationale for asserting that upgrading the Palestinians’ status at the UN would actually do this.

    (d) The drafters of the amendment appear unaware that the Palestinian presence at the UN is not part of the Palestinian Authority, but the PLO (as in, it is flat-out wrong to assert that the Palestinian Authority is seeking to change its status at the UN).

    • Annie Robbins
      November 28, 2012, 11:27 pm

      american,re (d), this is so oft repeating! ron kampeaus (sp, sorry) @ jewish weekly opened an article ‘the PA etc etc UN bid) and i replied, not the pa, the plo. so he fixed it. but he didn’t fix it in a way that reflected it was the plo making this move. he kind of non edited it to remove the reference. strange.

      • American
        November 29, 2012, 8:16 pm

        annie….I don’t like Kampeas…I went thru about a month of his tweets after he made that attack that on Phil and their content and tone showed him to be petty liitle squirt with the mentality and manners of a pimple faced street hood.

  19. Sumud
    November 29, 2012, 3:05 am

    Tough talk from Hanan Ashrawi on Britain offering a Yes vote if Palestine agrees to steer clear of the ICC [my emphasis]:

    Mrs Ashrawi said Britain had led efforts to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority. ‘‘We have not succumbed to pressure, we did not give any commitment,’’ she said, adding that ‘‘we are going to be recognised as a state and the day after’’ go to the ICC.

    Israel backs away as support for bid firms

    • Hostage
      November 29, 2012, 4:15 am

      The recognition of a state merely signifies that the state or organization which recognizes it accepts the personality of the other with all the rights and duties determined by international law. See Article 6 of the Montevideo Convention.

      That includes the right to go to the ICC like any other state and pursue legal claims against Israel without “negotiating” over grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

    • thankgodimatheist
      November 29, 2012, 7:49 am

      No Sumud. You got this one wrong. She said the opposite:

      “We haven’t decided that tomorrow we are going to be recognised as a state and the day after, we are going to the International Criminal Court.”
      (As per your own link.)

      • Hostage
        November 29, 2012, 3:58 pm

        “We haven’t decided that tomorrow we are going to be recognised as a state and the day after, we are going to the International Criminal Court.”

        I doubt that she’s forgetting what happened on the streets when Abbas merely delayed a symbolic vote on the Goldstone report in the UN Human Rights Council.

        How do you think the Palestinian public will react to foot dragging once they discover that their own government can bypass the UN and go straight to the criminal court in the Hague?

      • Sumud
        November 29, 2012, 5:35 pm

        That would be Isabel Kershner’s “mistake” TGIA, not mine.

        The text I quoted was a direct copy and paste from the article which has since been edited…

        If ever anyone needed proof of Kershner’s atrocious partisan journalism there it is, deliberate misquotation of Ashrawi.

    • MHughes976
      December 3, 2012, 12:29 pm

      I can’t believe that this petulant and vindictive response to events at the UN will do the Israelis much good. No doubt a thousand pens are being sharpened to denounce the international court system as anti-Semitic.

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