Israel mulls recognizing Palestinian state

Nov. 14, 2012 at 3:55 PM
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JERUSALEM, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman suggested regime change for Palestinians if they refuse to drop a bid for U.N. recognition, a document indicates.

Lieberman is a founder of Yisrael Beiteinu, a far-right party that takes a hard line on negotiations with the Palestinians. In a draft position paper, Lieberman said Israel should oust Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas if he refuses to give up a quest for a vote by the U.N. General Assembly to give the authority "non-member status," Israel Today reported.

He is also considering a draft document proposing Israel offer the authority partial statehood in exchange for an end to the U.N. move, a senior official in the foreign ministry told Haaretz. The plan would give the authority sovereignty over about half the West Bank, with the final borders to be negotiated.

Removing Abbas would be "the only option," Lieberman said, while acknowledging the move would be widely opposed outside Israel, Israel Today said. .

The document was drawn up by Israeli diplomats and ministry staff last weekend in Vienna.

"In the event that the Palestinians give up going to the U.N., Israel must reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority for a Palestinian state along provisional borders, during a transition period -- until the stabilization of the Arab world, new elections in the Palestinian Authority, and a clarification of the relations between the West Bank and Gaza," the document states.

The document being considered by Lieberman states Israel would immediately recognize a Palestinian state in provisional borders, giving Palestinians total or semi-control over 40 percent to 50 percent of the West Bank. No deadline would be set for permanent borders, which would be negotiated with other core issues.

Palestinians would commit to refrain from unilateral steps, including approaching the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Israel would be willing to freeze construction of West Bank settlements in all but three areas -- Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion, the document says.

If the Palestinians pursue the Nov. 29 bid, in which they said they plan to ask the United Nations for upgraded status, Israel will take severe action that will "upturn every future arrangement that would have been considered acceptable by Israel completely impossible," Haaretz said.

"A reality in which the United Nations recognizes a Palestinian state according to a unilateral process will destroy all Israeli deterrence and completely harm its credibility," the document states.

Israeli officials say the U.N. move violates the Oslo accords. They also fear the Palestinians might move to expel Jews from the West Bank settlements if the U.N. vote goes their way.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said Israel should pre-emptively annex the settlements.

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