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      Steinitz: PA Statehood Bid More Dangerous Than Hamas

      Finance Minister Yuval Steintiz said the PA Statehood Bid in September is 'more dangerous' than Hamas; Israel will 'respond.'
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 8/31/2011, 6:45 PM

      Minister Steinitz
      Minister Steinitz
      Finance Ministry

      Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Wednesday the Palestinian Authority bid for statehood at the United Nations is a greater threat to Israel than terrorism. 

      "This Palestinian initiative represents a more serious threat than that posed by Hamas," Steinitz told Israel's public radio.

      If the PA made good on their plans to seek United Nations membership, Israel would "respond," he promised.

      Steinitz added he believed it would be impossible to stop the bid, which is to take place when the UN General Assembly meets in New York on September 20.

      Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, who was also interviewed on public radio, said that if the PA went ahead with their bid it would signal the end of all agreements signed with Israel.

      "In this case, it is clear that our agreements with the Palestinians would be null and void," said Landau, who belongs to the  proudly nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

      "We should then impose our sovereignty on territories over which there is consensus -- that is, in the Jordan Valley and the major settlement blocs, and even more," he added.

      Landau's statements echoed previous statements by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has said unilateral moves by the PA would be the "end of the Oslo Accords" and necessitate a "diplomatic eye for an eye" on Israel's part.

      The Oslo Accords are the framework through which Israel recognizes and interacts with the PA. Without them there would be no ministerial, economic, security cooperation - or mechanism for maintaining essential infrastructure like water and electricity in PA enclaves.

      Steinitz's comments come as Jordan, long concerned over the long-term impact of the PLO on its own security, continues to pressure the PA to back down from the UN bid noting legal experts have said it could undermine the so-called 'right of return.'

      Also, Florida Republican Congresswoman and House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced Tuesday she is advancing a measure to block US funding to any UN member or agency that supports the PA bid.