Daily Israel Report

Arab MKs Back PA Over Israel

Arab MKs have advised PA officials in Ramallah to go forward with their statehood bid at the UN over Israeli objections.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 9/6/2011, 6:08 PM

Ahmed Tibi (file)
Ahmed Tibi (file)
Flash 90

Arab lawmakers in the Knesset on Tuesday advised the Palestinian Authority to submit their statehood bid to the United Nations irrespective of whether the United States offers to mediate or not.

MK Ahmad Tibi told reporters in the Arab media, "There is no need to head off the Palestinian move in attaining UN statehood recognition."

"The Israeli side is extremely confused, annoyed and disturbed with the Palestinian bid," he said.

"The current US attempt is pointless and useless, aimed only at averting the Palestinian UN plan, where the Americans use political and ethical double standards and act under the Israeli demands," he said.

"It is unbelievable to see the US and some European countries waging a campaign against the recognition of a Palestinian state which they called for in the first place," he said.

"The Palestinian UN plan will confuse the US Administration and prove to the entire international community that Obama is a mere tool in the hands of Netanyahu," he said.

Ahmed Tibi said that the Americans lack the capability to provide the Palestinians with a real and serious offer or formula. "It will be extremely unwise for the Palestinian leadership to back off under any circumstances," he said.

"The damage the Palestinians will suffer should they back off will be far worse than the benefits they would gain," he said.

Tibi even criticized PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' earlier promise to study all the offers seriously after officials in Ramallah on Monday said they were unsure how best to proceed with the UN bid.

"I strongly recommend determination and insistence on UN statehood recognition with no way to back off," he said.

Jamal Zahalqah, a member of the Israeli Knesset and Head of the National Democratic Assembly, also told Arab media outlets the US attempt will never provide a satisfactory formula.

"The Palestinian leadership cannot back off from attaining UN statehood recognition now," he said.

"The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) will lose all its credibility should there be any change in the plan and the PNA will never risk this," he said.

"Any setback in the Palestinian position will have a serious reaction in the Palestinian street against the PNA," he said.

Zahalqah said a satisfactory formula would require a real change in the Israeli position - and that would require unprecedented US and European pressure on Israel.

"This has not and seemingly will not happen," he complained.

As the September 20 date for submitting their statehood bid to the UN approaches officials in Ramallah have yet to find ways to deal with a looming US veto in the Security Council - or hardening Israeli rhetoric in the face of PA unilateralism.

Last week Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, said that while Israel has extensive agreements with the PA under the Oslo Accords, it has no agreements with a 'Palestinian government.'