Erekat warns of ‘retaliation’ from US & Israeli after UN bid

Top PLO negotiator says Washington & Jerusalem may take punitive measures in response to Palestinian bid to upgrade to non-member state, says Palestinian Authority need to prepare for reactions to “avoid a state of internal chaos.”

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

The Palestinians must be prepared for the possibility that the US and Israel may impose severe economic restrictions on the Palestinian Authority the day after the UN upgrades the status of a Palestinian state to non-member, Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat warned Thursday.

“It’s very important to be prepared for Israeli reactions to the upgrading of the Palestinian state’s status so as to avoid a state of internal chaos [in the Palestinian territories],” Erekat said in an report about the implications of the statehood bid.

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PLO negotiator Erekat – Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

“Palestinian institutions must be prepared for a state of emergency to limit, as much as possible, the negative impact of the anticipated step.” Erekat’s warning came as the PA leadership reiterated its intention to ask the UN later this month to upgrade the status of a Palestinian state to non-member.

Erekat said he expected Congress and the US Administration to take a number of “retaliatory” measures in response to the Palestinian statehood bid, such as freezing financial aid to the PA, closing the PLO mission’s office in Washington and exerting pressure on governments worldwide to dissuade them from supporting the statehood bid.

Erekat said he also expected the Americans to suspend funds to a number of UN agencies and organizations, first and foremost the United Nations relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees [UNRWA].

As for Israel’s expected response, Erekat said that the Israeli government may carry out its threat to unilaterally withdraw from some areas in the West Bank, freeze tax revenues belonging to the PA, instigating a “security deterioration” on the ground and imposing restrictions on the private sector and in particular and the Palestinian economy in general.

Erekat said he expected Israel to also annex the Jordan valley, expand settlements and walk away from the Oslo Accords that were signed with the PLO in 1993.

Meanwhile, the PLO published a “position paper” explaining its motives behind the renewed statehood bid.

The paper said that the PLO “seeks to enhance Palestine’s status to that of an Observer State, as a significant step towards fulfilling the Palestinian people’s natural, historical, and legal rights to self-determination and independence.” According to the PLO, “This step is a continuation of the standing Palestinian application for membership at the United Nations, which was lodged on 23 September 2011.

“Together with the international community, Palestine believes that the status quo of political deadlock, while occupation, colonization and apartheid policies become further entrenched, is neither acceptable nor sustainable. The Palestinian initiative intends to protect the prospects of peace and accelerate its realization. This step reaffirms and protects the internationally-endorsed two-state solution. It is anchored in relevant United Nations resolutions, including General Assembly resolutions 181 and 194, and international law.”

The PLO paper added that “according to international law, self-determination is a universally recognized inalienable right that is not subject to negotiation. Independence has never been a final status issue and statehood has never been negotiated bilaterally.

The right of peoples to self-determination is non-negotiable and the Palestinian people will thus never negotiate this right or subject it to Israel’s whims. Enhancing Palestine’s status at the UN is a step towards justice and will be an affirmation of the international community’s commitment to the universal values of human rights, as embodied in the United Nations Charter.”

The PLO explained that the Palestinian “initiative seeks to end occupation and realize the establishment of the State of Palestine; it does not seek to delegitimize or isolate Israel. Rather, this step seeks to delegitimize the policies of occupation and colonization and to overcome the paralysis in the international community, especially with regard to ending Israel’s impunity and compelling its compliance with international law.”

The Palestinian step, according to the PLO, is consistent with the formal Palestinian recognition of Israel in 1993, and consistent with the internationally endorsed goal of the peace process — two states living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.

“Recognition is necessary to achieve the ultimate objective of the two-state solution and expedite its realization at a time when Israel is incessantly and recklessly undermining that solution and the prospects for achieving a just peace,” the PLO said. ”

“The international community therefore has a moral and legal obligation to help fulfill this right. Currently, 132 countries recognize the State of Palestine on the pre-1967 borders. The PLO calls on all countries that have not yet done so yet to recognize Palestine on these borders and invest in peace.

“Finally, the Palestinian initiative at the United Nations does not contradict, nor is it a substitute for, negotiations. These are parallel paths that complement one another. Enhancing Palestine’s status at the United Nations to Observer State will establish the right framework for negotiations and reaffirm the internationally-agreed upon terms of reference and end game of a credible political process, to which we remain committed.”

 

View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=290149

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