Israel to thwart Palestinian efforts

Dec. 21, 2010 at 8:23 AM
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JERUSALEM, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Israel's Foreign Ministry has urged Israeli diplomats abroad to take action to thwart Palestinian efforts to declare unilateral statehood, officials said.

Rafael Barak, the acting Foreign Ministry director-general sent an urgent cable to Israeli attaches abroad Monday calling on them to contact leading government officials, foreign ministers and parliaments in the respective countries they are posted in, Haaretz said Tuesday.

The Palestinian Authority is currently waging efforts on three fronts -- advancing a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning settlement construction, securing international recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and improving the diplomatic stance of Palestinian representatives in Europe, East Asia and Latin America, Barak said in the cable obtained by the newspaper.

Israel also fears countries will upgrade the Palestinian Authority's diplomatic status, noting that Spain and France have already taken the step and believe Britain, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Malta, Luxembourg and Austria will follow suit, Haaretz said.

On Monday, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Ma'an news agency 10 European countries intend to upgrade the Palestinians' diplomatic status. "The Palestinians will not stop working to gain their freedom through available channels and in peaceful ways," Erekat told the agency.

Erekat told the news agency Israel's actions, including arrests, daily incursions and violations against prisoners, have created support for the Palestinian cause.

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