Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz tore a page out of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s playbook on Sunday, warning that Israel would dissolve the Palestinian Authority if the resolution it is expected to bring to the UN Security Council by the end of the year actually passes.
“A vote is expected in the UN on the aggressive, hostile and one-sided resolution regarding a Palestinian state,” Steinitz said Sunday.
“We must not let it pass quietly.”
Steinitz said if the resolution is accepted in the Security Council, “we will need to seriously weigh the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority.”
Abbas has repeatedly threatened to dissolve the Palestinian Authority himself, “throw the keys” at Israel and let it manage the territories.
As recently as November, Abbas reportedly sent Jerusalem a message through German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warning of his intention to shut down the PA. He also has repeatedly threatened over the years to break off security cooperation with Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, said at Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting that the purpose of the Palestinian UN Security Council resolution is to “bring about an imposed settlement that would establish here a second Hamastan and would endanger our security.”
Netanyahu has frequently referred to Gaza, which is under Hamas’s control, as “Hamastan.”
Netanyahu said Israel would continue to “vigorously rebuff attempts to force terms on us that would endanger our security and our future. We expect national unity on this national issue.”
The US, which has veto power in the Security Council, already has said it will not support the Palestinian resolution, which calls for a full IDF withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines within three years. It is not clear, however, whether the Palestinians have the necessary nine votes in the council that would necessitate a US veto to stop the measure from passing.
The 15-member UN Security Council changes composition on January 1, with Angola, Venezuela, Malaysia, Spain and New Zealand replacing Rwanda, Argentina, South Korea, Luxembourg and Australia on the world body, giving it a more pro-Palestinian leaning than the outgoing council.
A move by the Palestinians to force a vote before the switchover might be motivated by a Palestinian desire to actually avoid forcing a US veto, knowing that in the current Security Council it will not be able to win nine votes and that if they do win the nine votes after January 1 the US would have to use its veto.
Forcing the US’s hand is something that would put Washington in an uncomfortable position internationally, but also complicate the PA’s relationship with the US.
On Saturday night, US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) warned of a “violent backlash” by the new Republican-dominated US Congress against the United Nations, including suspended funding, if it tries to “take over the peace process.”