Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gestures during a news conference in Jerusalem Sept. 15, 2011. UPI/Gali Tibbon/Pool | License Photo
JERUSALEM, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The United States and European nations urged Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to punish the Palestinians after they make their U.N. statehood bid.
Netanyahu, under pressure from several Israeli Cabinet members to respond strongly to the Palestinian Authority's bid, has taken a wait-and-see position until the significance of the move becomes clearer, Haaretz reported Monday.
Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said U.S. envoys Dennis Ross and David Hill, as well as other officials, have asked Netanyahu not to take any steps that would destabilize the Palestinian Authority. U.S. President Obama said last week Israel would hurt itself if it suspends security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority because of the Palestinians' approach to the United Nations, Haaretz said.
European Union Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle made similar requests, Haaretz reported.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who attended a conference of donor nations assisting the Palestinian Authority, said Sunday if the P.A. acts contrary to its agreements, including those concerning economic relations, "Israel will not have any legal or diplomatic obligation toward a Palestinian state, which will have been founded artificially, in breach of signed agreements."
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who opposes possible sanctions, warned that such as move could result in violence and end security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Under certain conditions, the P.A. could collapse, returning responsibility for West Bank inhabitants to Israel, he said.
In New York, Barak met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to discuss how to prevent the possibility of violence during planned Palestinian demonstrations as P.A. leaders make their statehood bid to the General Assembly, Haaretz said.