Israel downplays Palestinian moves

July 11, 2011 at 4:52 PM
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JERUSALEM, July 11 (UPI) -- Israeli officials are downplaying a diplomatic tsunami some expect in September if Palestinians pursue a U.N. declaration of a Palestinian state.

Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon addressed the diplomatic and security developments expected.

"I see a scarecrow in September," he told Ynetnews Monday.

"More threat than option, there is a series of scare tactics being used from within the [Palestinian] coalition," he said of recent moves by the Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah.

The tactics are an attempt to extract more concessions from Israel to appease the Palestinians so that they won't submit their declaration in September, he said.

"We do not intend to be extorted by the Palestinians and will stand firm: yes to negotiations, no to preconditions."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is not interested in a U.N. declaration of the establishment of a Palestinian state, he said.

"He knows what it means to deal with Hamas without [Israeli military] assistance," he said. "Abbas would not wish for an operative decision in the U.N. that impedes the [Israeli military's] freedom of action in the West Bank."

He downplayed the possible impact of a U.N. declaration.

"Israel is not isolated. When we explain ourselves the Americans and the world understand. More and more countries are distancing themselves, in Europe too. It is true that there will be an automatic majority but the moral bloc will for the most part distance itself."

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