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Steinitz Threatens PA with Sanctions Over UN Bid

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz threatens to freeze transfer of tax revenues if the PA continues its unilateral statehood bid.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/11/2012, 2:23 AM

Yuval Steinitz
Yuval Steinitz
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Saturday threatened the Palestinian Authority with sanctions, if it continues its unilateral statehood bid at the United Nations.

Speaking at a cultural event in Be’er Sheva, Steinitz said that Israel has taken similar actions in the past and would once again halt the transfer of the taxes it collects for the Palestinian Authority if it pursues its statehood bid.

On Thursday, envoys from the Palestinian Authority unveiled the resolution they hope will give them observer membership at the United Nations.

Arab League foreign ministers are to discuss the resolution next week.

The PA’s mission to the United Nations sent a letter to UN members with its proposed resolution, saying it would be put to the 193 member UN General Assembly "at a date to be announced in the near future."

The resolution would call on the assembly to accord observe membership and urge the 15-nation UN Security Council to "consider favorably" an application for full membership made last year by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas formally announced in September that the PA would ask the General Assembly to grant it "super-observer" status that could give it access to UN institutions and agencies.

Channel 10 News reported this week that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has threatened that if the PA goes ahead with its unilateral statehood bid he “will work to ensure the PA will collapse.”

Lieberman reportedly stressed that a unilateral statehood bid by the PA will "put an end to the chances to resume peace negotiations."

Last year, Israeli officials decided to halt the transfer of taxes to the PA, as part of a round of sanctions against the entity following its ascension as a 'full-member state' to UNESCO.

Later, however, the Security Cabinet approved the unfreezing of the tax revenues. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained that he reversed his position because Abbas had shown diplomatic “calm” since his failed bid for full membership in the United Nations Security Council and his successful attempt to win membership in UNESCO.