Tuesday, December 11, 2012

US and Israel vs The World

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinians will ask the U.N. Security Council to call for an Israeli settlement freeze, President Mahmoud Abbas and his advisers decided Tuesday, as part of an escalating showdown over Israel's new plans to build thousands more homes on war-won land in and around Jerusalem.

Such construction will destroy any lingering hopes of setting up a Palestinian state, Abbas aides warned, as international anger over the settlement construction snowballed.
Israel announced the new plans after the U.N. last week recognized a state of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem — lands Israel occupied in 1967 — as a non-member observer.
The plans include 3,000 more homes for Jews in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, as well as preparations for construction of an especially sensitive project near Jerusalem, known as E-1.
Separately, Israel is moving forward with two major settlement projects in east Jerusalem. Israel would build more than 4,200 apartments in the two areas, Ramat Shlomo and Givat Hamatos.
Israeli settlement construction lies at the heart of a four-year breakdown in peace talks, and was a major factor behind the Palestinians' U.N. statehood bid. Since 1967, half a million Israelis have settled in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The Israeli plans for Jerusalem and nearby West Bank areas "are the most dangerous in the history of settlement expansion and apartheid," Abbas and senior members of the PLO and his Fatah movement said in a statement after a meeting Tuesday evening.

The Palestinians decided to ask the Security Council for a resolution censuring Israeli settlement building, even though a previous attempt in early 2011 was derailed by a U.S. veto.

Britain and France have both summoned Israeli ambassadors in protest at Israel's decision to approve the construction of 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The UK said the move would cast doubt on Israel's "stated commitment to achieving peace with the Palestinians".

Israel authorised the 3,000 additional housing units a day after the UN voted to upgrade Palestinian status.

An official close to the prime minister said Israel would not change its mind.

"Israel will continue to stand by its vital interests, even in the face of international pressure, and there will be no change in the decision that was made," an official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said.

Sweden has also summoned the Israeli ambassador, while Russia and Germany have expressed their opposition to the settlement plans.

The UN has warned the homes would be "an almost fatal blow" to peace hopes.

Israel has authorised the construction of 3,000 more housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to Israeli officials.

It is also speeding up the processing of 1,000 planning permissions.

The Palestinian Authority has said it will not return to peace talks without a freeze in settlement building.

The decision comes a day after a vote at the UN General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians' status at the UN to that of non-member observer state.

According to the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, some of the new units will be between Jerusalem and the settlement of Maaleh Adumim.

Plans to build settlements in the area, known as E1, are strongly opposed by Palestinians, who say the development will cut the West Bank in two, preventing the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state.

Earlier this month, a paper by the Israeli foreign ministry described the Palestinians' pushing for the vote as "crossing a red line that will require the harshest Israeli response".

About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

'Political theatre'
Earlier on Friday, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the UN vote was "negative political theatre" that would "hurt peace".

The General Assembly voted by 138-9 to recognise the Palestinians as a non-member observer state, with 41 states abstaining.

The Palestinians can now take part in UN debates and potentially join bodies like the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it was the "last chance to save the two-state solution" with Israel.

Two decades of on-off negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank have failed to produce a permanent settlement, with the latest round of direct negotiations breaking down in 2010.

In January, several months of indirect "proximity talks" ended without any progress.

Palestinian negotiators insist that the building of Jewish settlements on occupied land must stop before they agree to resume direct talks.

Their Israeli counterparts say there can be no preconditions.

Mr Abbas was much criticised by many Palestinians for remaining on the sidelines of the conflict between the militant Hamas movement and Israel earlier this month in Gaza.

Israel says a vote upgrading the Palestinian status at the United Nations is "negative political theatre" that will "hurt peace".

Government spokesman Mark Regev said the move had taken Palestinians and Israelis out of a negotiating process.

The General Assembly voted resoundingly to recognise the Palestinians as a non-member observer state on Thursday.

The Palestinians can now take part in UN debates and potentially join bodies like the International Criminal Court.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it was the "last chance to save the two-state solution" with Israel.

There were celebrations on the streets of Ramallah in the West Bank as the result was announced.

But Mr Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, denounced Mr Abbas' bid as "litany of libellous charges against Israel".

"This is negative political theatre that takes us out of a negotiating process. It's going to hurt peace," Mr Regev told the BBC.

Joshua Briner reports at 1750 GMT in leading news website Walla ! in Hebrew:
“MKs Mikha’el Ben-Ari and Arye Eldad of the Strong Israel party burned Palestinian flags this evening in protest over the scheduled UN vote on granting the Palestinians observer state status. MKs Ben-Ari and Eldad set fire to the flags in the Rose Garden outside the Knesset after police prevented them and other activists from doing so outside the UN’s Jerusalem headquarters in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. The police clashed with the activists, and detained three of them. After burning the flags, the MKs said that ‘even police brutality will not deny our freedom of speech and freedom to protest against the subservience and hesitation of the State of Israel in its fight against the establishment of a Palestinian state.’”

By Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS | Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:24pm EST

(Reuters) - The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the world body to issue its long overdue "birth certificate."

The U.N. victory for the Palestinians was a diplomatic setback for the United States and Israel, which were joined by only a handful of countries in voting against the move to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's observer status at the United Nations to "non-member state" from "entity," like the Vatican.

Britain called on the United States to use its influence to help break the long impasse in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Washington also called for a revival of direct negotiations.

There were 138 votes in favor, nine against and 41 abstentions. Three countries did not take part in the vote, held on the 65th anniversary of the adoption of U.N. resolution 181 that partitioned Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states.

Thousands of flag-waving Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip set off fireworks and danced in the streets to celebrate the vote.

The assembly approved the upgrade despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinians by withholding funds for the West Bank government. U.N. envoys said Israel might not retaliate harshly against the Palestinians over the vote as long as they do not seek to join the International Criminal Court.

If the Palestinians were to join the ICC, they could file complaints with the court accusing Israel of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious crimes.

The much-anticipated vote came after Abbas denounced Israel for its "aggressive policies and the perpetration of war crimes" from the U.N. podium, remarks that elicited a furious response from the Jewish state.

"Sixty-five years ago on this day, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181, which partitioned the land of historic Palestine into two states and became the birth certificate for Israel," Abbas told the assembly after receiving a standing ovation.

"The General Assembly is called upon today to issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine," he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded quickly, condemning Abbas' critique of Israel as "hostile and poisonous," and full of "false propaganda.

"These are not the words of a man who wants peace," Netanyahu also said in a statement released by his office. He reiterated Israeli calls for direct talks with the Palestinians, dismissing Thursday's resolution as "meaningless."


Granting Palestinians the title of "non-member observer state" falls short of full U.N. membership - something the Palestinians failed to achieve last year. But it would allow them access to the ICC and other international bodies, should they choose to join them.

Abbas did not mention the ICC in his speech. But Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told reporters after the vote that if Israel continued to build illegal settlements, the Palestinians might pursue the ICC route.

"As long as the Israelis are not committing atrocities, are not building settlements, are not violating international law, then we don't see any reason to go anywhere," he said.

"If the Israelis continue with such policy - aggression, settlements, assassinations, attacks, confiscations, building walls - violating international law, then we have no other remedy but really to knock those to other places," Maliki said.

Abbas led the campaign to win support for the resolution, which followed an eight-day conflict this month between Israel and Islamists in the Gaza Strip, who are pledged to Israel's destruction and oppose a negotiated peace.

At least 17 European nations voted in favor of the Palestinian resolution, including Austria, France, Italy, Norway and Spain. Abbas had focused his lobbying efforts on Europe, which supplies much of the aid the Palestinian Authority relies on. Britain, Germany and others chose to abstain.

The Czech Republic was unique in Europe, joining the United States, Israel, Canada, Panama and tiny Pacific Island states likes Nauru, Palau and Micronesia in voting against the move.


Peace talks have been stalled for two years, mainly over Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which have expanded despite being deemed illegal by most of the world. There are 4.3 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

After the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice called for the immediate resumption of peace talks.

"The Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded," she said.

"The United States calls upon both the parties to resume direct talks without preconditions on all the issues that divide them and we pledge that the United States will be there to support the parties vigorously in such efforts," Rice said.

She added that both parties should "avoid any further provocative actions in the region, in New York or elsewhere."

Britain's U.N. ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, told reporters it was time for recently re-elected U.S. President Barack Obama to make a new push for peace.

"We believe the window for the two-state solution is closing," he said. "That is why we are encouraging the United States and other key international actors to grasp this opportunity and use the next 12 months as a way to really break through this impasse."

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an impassioned speech before the vote that Thursday's events should help, not hinder the peace process.

"Granting Palestine the status of non-member state at the U.N. can serve as a booster," he said. "It will create the long needed momentum for a negotiated, comprehensive solution, rather than becoming a substitute for it."

(Additional reporting by Andrew Quinn in Washington, Noah Browning in Ramallah, Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem, Michelle Nichols in New York, Robert Mueller in Prague, Gabriela Baczynska and Reuters bureau in Europe and elsewhere; Editing by Peter Cooney)

who cares about a bunch of kikes and towelheads?

Published on Nov 28, 2012 by Euronews


The Palestinian bid for longed-for although indirect recognition as a state is expected to pass easily when presented to the 193-nation General Assembly in New York later.

There are dissenters, though; a handful of states, including Israel and the US, are expected to vote against.

US diplomats have made a last-ditch attempt to persuade Mahmoud Abbas to opt for dialogue with Israel.

"The path to a 2 state solution that fulfils the aspirations of the palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah and not New York" US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters.

A few European member states have voiced doubts but despite their objections, but almost half of the 27 have pledged their support. There is also strong backing from the developing world.

In Ramallah, the feeling is that the US is employing the tactics of delay.

"Still, the US has been trying desperately to prevent us, to delay us, to threaten us and so on, and now they understand that this is going to happen and they cannot stop it, they do not have a veto right" said Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi.

The confidence scam that Israel and the United States have been running on the Palestinians, of a “peace process,” is finally about to meet a well-deserved demise. There are now over 600,000 Israeli settlers on the Occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank (including the areas unilaterally annexed by Israel to its ‘district of Jerusalem’).
It now seems all but certain that the United Nations General Assembly will vote on Friday to grant the Palestine Authority “observer state” status at the United Nations, the same position enjoyed by the Vatican. It is an upgrade from “entity” recognized as “permanent observer.” Its primary significance is that as an observer, Palestine will have some of the same prerogatives of members within the UN legal structure. In particular, it will be in a much strengthened position to launch protests against the war crimes and crimes against humanity practiced by Israel against the Palestinians.

(Reuters) - The U.N. General Assembly is set to implicitly recognize a sovereign state of Palestine on Thursday despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinian Authority by withholding much-needed funds for the West Bank government.

A resolution that would change the Palestinian Authority's U.N. observer status from "entity" to "non-member state," like the Vatican, is expected to pass easily in the 193-nation General Assembly.

Israel, the United States and a handful of other members are planning to vote against what they see as a largely symbolic and counterproductive move by the Palestinians, which takes place on the 65th anniversary of the assembly's adoption of resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been leading the campaign to win support for the resolution, and over a dozen European governments have offered him their support after an eight-day conflict this month between Israel and Islamists in the Gaza Strip, who are pledged to Israel's destruction and oppose his efforts toward a negotiated peace.

The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday that Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and U.S. Middle East peace envoy David Hale traveled to New York on Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to get Abbas to reconsider.

The Palestinians gave no sign they were turning back.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeated to reporters in Washington on Wednesday the U.S. view that the Palestinian move was misguided and efforts should focus instead on reviving the stalled Middle East peace process.

"The path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York," she said. "The only way to get a lasting solution is to commence direct negotiations."

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland reiterated U.S. warnings that the move could cause a reduction of U.S. economic support for the Palestinians. The Israelis have also warned they might take significant deductions out of monthly transfers of duties that Israel collects on the Palestinians' behalf.

Despite its fierce opposition, Israel seems concerned not to find itself diplomatically isolated. It has recently toned down threats of retaliation in the face of wide international support for the initiative, notably among its European allies.

"The decision at the United Nations will change nothing on the ground," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Jerusalem. "It will not advance the establishment of a Palestinian state. It will delay it further."


Granting Palestinians the title of "non-member observer state" falls short of full U.N. membership - something the Palestinians failed to achieve last year. But it would allow them access to the International Criminal Court and some other international bodies, should they choose to join them.

Hanan Ashrawi, a top Palestine Liberation Organization official, told a news conference in Ramallah that "the Palestinians can't be blackmailed all the time with money."

"If Israel wants to destabilize the whole region, it can," she said. "We are talking to the Arab world about their support, if Israel responds with financial measures, and the EU has indicated they will not stop their support to us."

Peace talks have been stalled for two years, mainly over the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which have expanded despite being deemed illegal by most of the world.

In the draft resolution, the Palestinians have pledged to relaunch the peace process immediately following the U.N. vote.

As there is little doubt about how the United States will vote when the Palestinian resolution to upgrade its U.N. status is put to a vote sometime after 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority has been concentrating its efforts on lobbying wealthy European states, diplomats say.

With strong support from the developing world that makes up the majority of U.N. members, the resolution is virtually assured of securing more than the requisite simple majority. Palestinian officials hope for more than 130 yes votes.

Abbas has been trying to amass as many European votes in favor as possible.

Austria, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland all pledged to support the Palestinian resolution. Britain said it was prepared to vote yes, but only if the Palestinians fulfilled certain conditions.

Diplomats said the Czech Republic was expected to vote against the move, potentially dashing European hopes to avoid a three-way split in the vote. Germany and the Netherlands said they planned to abstain, like Estonia and Lithuania.

Ashrawi said the positive responses from European states were encouraging and sent a message of hope to all Palestinians.

"This constitutes a historical turning point and opportunity for the world to rectify a grave historical injustice that the Palestinians have undergone since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948," she said.

A strong backing from European nations could make it awkward for Israel to implement harsh retaliatory measures. But Israel's reaction might not be so measured if the Palestinians seek ICC action against Israel on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity or other crimes the court would have jurisdiction over.

Israel also seems wary of weakening the Western-backed Abbas, especially after the political boost rival Hamas received from recent solidarity visits to Gaza by top officials from Egypt, Qatar and Tunisia.

Hamas militants, who control Gaza and have had icy relations with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, unexpectedly offered Abbas their support this week.

One Western diplomat said the Palestinian move was almost an insult to recently re-elected U.S. President Barack Obama.

"It's not the best way to convince Mr. Obama to have a more positive approach toward the peace process," said the diplomat, who was planning to vote for the resolution. "Three weeks after his election, it's basically a slap in the face."

(This story corrected name of Palestine Liberation Organization)

(Andrew Quinn in Washington, Noah Browning in Ramallah, Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem, Michelle Nichols in New York, and Reuters bureaux in Europe and elsewhere; Editing by Peter Cooney and Xavier Briand)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Mondoweiss summarizes today’s vote from a roundup of different sources. Before today’s vote, there were 193 member states to UNESCO; of them, there were 107 votes in favor of admitting Palestine to the UN body, 52 abstentions and only 14 votes “no” (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu).

As a result of the vote in overwhelming favor to admit Palestine to UNESCO, the United States has decided to collectively punish education, science and culture worldwide by withholding a $60 million payment to the body later this month.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reports:
The US Congress is also currently considering new legislation that would impose additional restrictions on American funding of the United Nations, threaten cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority, and slashing military assistance to key foreign countries in retaliation to their support for the Palestinian bid for full UN membership.
Of course, the full impact of today’s vote and the US’ predictably insane reaction remain to be seen. But it’s hard to imagine that the US or Israel can do anything to spin this in their favor.
Indeed, as this short video of today’s vote illustrates, there was resounding applause for certain countries voting in favor of admitting Palestine, a stone-cold silence for the US when it voted “no,” and only laughter when Israel voted “no.”

The US is heading down a shameful path it has gone down once before. Like it was the last to defend apartheid South Africa, so it is with apartheid Israel. But even the biggest bully on the block can’t always get things to swing in Israel’s favor.

After gaining UNESCO membership on Oct. 31 despite US threats to cut its funding, Palestine is now seeking to join other UN agencies, though the most crucial membership – statehood in the UN - will likely fail after Bosnia’s decision.

The Palestinians’ top envoy in Geneva has said he believes that joining the U.N. agency for culture, education (UNESCO) and science will “open the door” to joining 16 other U.N. agencies within weeks.

Ibrahim Khraishi, the Palestinian envoy at the U.N. in Geneva, said Palestinian diplomats were now planning to capitalize on Oct. 31’s landslide vote to allow Palestine into UNESCO by preparing papers to join 16 other U.N. agencies. He said yesterday that the UNESCO vote sets a “precedent” for allowing such broad memberships.

Israeli Ambassador Nimrod Barkan said the vote, while symbolic, could have a knock-on effect: “There is potential for a cascading effect of this resolution on many other U.N. agencies and in New York.” The Palestinians could now seek full membership in other U.N. organizations like the World Intellectual Property Organization, the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization or the International Atomic Energy Agency. Such moves would place the United States in an increasing diplomatic bind as in the 1990s it banned the financing of any U.N. organization that accepts Palestine as a full member.

After the decision, the U.S. cut its funding for UNESCO. “We were to have made a $60 million payment to UNESCO in November and we will not be making that payment,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters. Nuland said the Palestinian admission “triggers longstanding (U.S.) legislative restrictions that will compel the United States to refrain from making contributions to UNESCO.” The United States, Israel’s top ally, in the 1990s banned the financing of any UN organization that accepts Palestine as a full member. The United States provides about 22 percent of UNESCO’s annual budget.

Bosnia abstains

Though Palestine was triumphant in its UNESCO membership bid, its statehood bid will likely to face a major blow. On Oct. 31 a Bosnian presidential adviser said the country would be forced to abstain in the Security Council vote on Palestinian statehood. Palestinian officials have said they already have eight votes, and had counted heavily on Bosnia to give them the ninth. The United States has promised to veto the measure in any case. But the Palestinians had hoped to win enough support to trigger the veto, which would have embarrassed the U.S. by forcing it to go against the will of the international community.

Dzenan Selimbegovic, an adviser to Bosnia’s three-member presidency, said Oct. 31 that because the trio still disagrees on the issue, there is no official stand and the chance of someone changing his mind is “theoretical,” the Associated Press reported. “Officially the presidency has no position and if there is no position then the Bosnian ambassador to the U.N. has no position,” he said. Selimbegovic said the presidency would be left with no choice other than to abstain.


The Obama administration has criticized this plan as a “distraction,” insisting that a two-state solution should be reached through “direct negotiations.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/63688.html#ixzz1YAGCFILp
(Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday he would request recognition of a fully-fledged Palestinian state at the United Nations when he goes to the world body next week, defying fierce opposition from Israel and the United States.

Here are some of the reasons behind the push as well as some of the possible consequences.
Abbas says 20 years of U.S.-led peace talks have got nowhere and wants a vote in the United Nations to bestow the Palestinians with the cherished mantle of statehood. However, he recognizes that negotiations with Israel will still be needed to establish a properly functioning state.
Justifying the move, the Palestinians point to the success of a Western-backed, two-year plan to build institutions ready for statehood which they say is now finished.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) says placing their state firmly in the context of territory seized by Israel in the 1967 war will provide clear terms of reference and mean Israel will no longer be able to call the land "disputed." Instead, it will make clear it is occupied. Israel fears this will enable Palestinians to start legal proceedings in the International Criminal Court (ICC) against some 500,000 Israelis who live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.


Countries seeking to join the United Nations usually present an application to the U.N. secretary-general, who passes it to the Security Council to assess and vote on. If the 15-nation council approves the membership request, it is passed to the General Assembly for approval. A membership request needs a two-thirds majority, or 129 votes, for approval.

A country cannot join the United Nations unless both the Security Council and General Assembly approve its application.


In theory, yes. But Washington has made clear it would veto such a request, meaning it has no chance of success. Even if the Palestinians secured a two-thirds majority of votes in the General Assembly, there is no getting around the need for prior approval of the Security Council.


In addition to applying to become a full U.N. member state, the Palestinians could also seek upgraded observer status as a non-member state. That is what the Vatican has. Such status, U.N. envoys say, could be interpreted as implicit U.N. recognition of Palestinian statehood because the assembly would be acknowledging that the Palestinians control an actual state.

The advantage of this option is that it would require only a simple majority of the 193-nation General Assembly, not a two-thirds majority. Abbas said on Friday that more than 126 states already recognize the state of Palestine, meaning he could probably win such a vote with ease.


Besides granting them the all-important title "state," diplomats say it might enable the Palestinians to join the ICC, from which it could pursue legal cases against Israel over the partial blockade of Gaza or the settlements.


There are potential pitfalls. For example, Israel could counter sue the Palestinians in the ICC over missiles fired at it out of Gaza, which is run by the Hamas Islamist group.

Some critics have warned of legal consequences for the Palestinians themselves, arguing the move could jeopardize the rights of refugees in the Palestinian diaspora and the status of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Others have dismissed those arguments.

Also, the U.N. vote will not change things on the ground in the Palestinian territories -- a reality which could further undermine the standing of the Palestinian leadership when the dust settles. Some Israelis have warned disappointment could fuel anti-Israeli violence and even spark a new Intifada. PA officials have dismissed that prospect.


Israeli officials have suggested a range of possible measures, including limiting travel privileges for Palestinian leaders seeking to exit the West Bank, halting the transfer of crucial tax revenues to the Palestinians and even annexing West Bank settlement blocs to try to sidestep ICC legal action. Some U.S. officials have warned that they might cut their annual aid to the Palestinian Authority, which runs to some $450 million. It is far from clear if they will enact these threats. Depriving the PA of funds, for example, would rapidly push it to financial collapse, which would provoke instability. In the case of bankruptcy, some leading Palestinians argue that the PA should hand over the keys of the big West Bank cities to Israel and tell it to pay for the on-going occupation.

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