Israel will negotiate with other Palestinian factors if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas presses forward with his statehood bid at the United Nations this week, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon warned on Saturday.
Speaking in an interview on Israel Radio, Ayalon said that other Palestinian groups exist with which Israel can negotiate, but the deputy foreign minister refused to specify to which organizations he was referring.
Earlier in the day Abbas, whose PA controls the West Bank, said that nothing will prevent the Palestinians from attempting to gain nonmember status at the United Nations on Thursday, according to Israel Radio. Such an upgrade would not grant the Palestinians biding statehood, but would give them entry to UN forums in which they could seek to raise legal and other complaints against Israel.
“We are certain that countries of the free world will support us,” Abbas said, adding that the Palestinians are ready to return to the negotiating table immediately after they obtain their desired upgrade at the UN.
The PA plans to submit its request to the UN General Assembly to upgrade its status from observer to nonmember state on November 29, and will ask the Assembly to vote on the measure.
Palestinian officials have said that they expect the General Assembly to vote two-thirds in favor of granting Palestine nonmember status.
Palestinian newspaper al-Ayyam reported Saturday that the British, French, and German foreign ministers asked Abbas to delay his planned UN bid, but Abbas refused.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said last week that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Abbas during their meeting in Ramallah that the Palestinians “would destroy themselves politically” if they press forward with their unilateral UN bid.
Presidential adviser Sabri Saidam told the BBC that the unilateral General Assembly move is the only way forward for Abbas because of his sidelining during last week’s clashes between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“He came out of the Gaza war definitely more adamant to go to the United Nations,” the BBC quoted Saidam saying on Saturday.
“He knows quite well that some countries will oppose the vote but it’s a Palestinian move in the right direction, taking this conflict from being the Palestinians versus the Israelis to the international community versus the Israelis.”
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