Israeli soldiers explain the route of Israel’s separation wall to angry Jewish settlers
who wish to annex further West Bank land into their settlement of Efrata near
the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 9 November 2006.
BY ONI LEWIS
JERUSALEM, Nov 16 – Israel warned the Palestinians on Monday that declaring a state without concluding a peace agreement would lead to Israeli counter-measures that could include annexation of more of the occupied West Bank.
“If the Palestinians take such a unilateral line, Israel should also consider … passing a law to annex some of the settlements,” Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Israel Radio.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, speaking to reporters, declined to specify what action Israel might take.
But he said: “It is clear any such step by the Palestinians would not pass without an Israeli response.”
Without setting a timeframe, Palestinian officials said on Sunday the Palestinians planned to go to the U.N. Security Council in an effort to secure international support for an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Palestinians attributed the move to frustration at the lack of progress in peace talks, which have been stalled for a year. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said negotiations cannot resume until Israel halts settlement expansion.
Diplomats deferred comment, saying it was not immediately obvious by what means the Palestinians might pursue a declaration of statehood, or how international law might apply.
Recent examples suggest they might take the same route as Israel’s founders in 1947 and simply seek U.N. support for a resolution calling for statehood, which is what East Timor did to become the first new state of the 21st century in 2002.
Or they might declare independence without going to the U.N. as Kosovo did when it became the world’s newest state in 2008, knowing it could not win Security Council endorsement because of a threatened Russian veto, but would receive quick recognition by most NATO and European Union governments.
See Related: ISRAEL-MIDEAST
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