By KHALED ABU TOAMEH and HERB KEINON, JPOST—
As the Palestinian Authority said Sunday it planned to move forward to secure support for the draft resolution it presented the UN Security Council last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would “vigorously oppose it” and not accept any “diktat.”
Netanyahu, speaking at a Hanukka candle-lighting ceremony with IDF soldiers at Latrun, said Israel has sent a clear message to “those leading the diplomatic assault against us” that Israel expects “the responsible elements in the international community to reject this proposal.”
He said that the current “diplomatic attack led by the Palestinian Authority” is “designed to deny us our very right to defend ourselves and seeks to deny us the legitimacy of our very existence.”
Earlier in the day, at the weekly cabinet meeting, during which National Security Council Adviser Yossi Cohen briefed the ministers on the various moves in the diplomatic arena on the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu said: “Parts of Europe have been rife for many years with anti-Israel sentiments and anti-Semitism.”
Along with working with friends in the US and in Europe to push back against these forces, Netanyahu said Israel is “working to advance and develop new alliances and partnerships, for example with countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa and other places in the world.”
His words came on the same day PA officials said that consultations were under way with various parties aimed at paving the way for a vote on their draft resolution, which calls for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
The officials said that until now they have not been able to secure the required nine votes of the Security Council permanent members. According to the officials, only seven permanent members have thus far announced their intention to vote in favor of the proposed resolution.
Abbas Zaki, a senior Fatah official, said that some countries – including the US – are seeking to delay the vote in the Security Council on the Palestinian statehood resolution.
“There are American efforts to prevent a vote on the resolution,” said Zaki, who is close to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. He claimed that Washington is still opposed to the draft resolution despite the changes introduced to its wording.
Zaki said that despite the US opposition, the Palestinians are determined to ask the Security Council to hold a vote on the resolution in the near future.
The Palestinian envoy to the Arab League, Mohamed Sbaih, called on the US to refrain from vetoing the resolution when it is brought for a vote at the Security Council.
According to a report Friday on the Foreign Policy website, US Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned EU ambassadors that any action by the UN Security Council would strengthen the hands of Israeli “hard-liners.”
Sbaih said the Palestinians and some Arab countries have begun consultations with various international parties to secure their backing for the Palestinian statehood bid.
He warned that the Palestinians would seek membership in international organizations and treaties, including the International Criminal Court, if the US thwarts the bid.
Netanyahu, in his comments at Latrun, said that the diplomatic front was just one of two fronts that Israel was facing simultaneously, the other front being the attacks by Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
He said Israel was rebuffing the attacks on both fronts.
Regarding Hamas, he said that Israel sent a clear message over the weekend with an air attack on Gaza that followed a mortar attack emanating from the coastal strip that “we are not prepared to countenance the firing of even one rocket, and we are responding accordingly and with force.”