While efforts to renew the negotiations between Israel and Palestinians are still under way, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is already preparing himself for the day after the failure of those talks.
Lieberman has instructed the Foreign Ministry staff to prepare for the possibility that the Palestinians might unilaterally declare the establishment of an independent state and seek UN recognition. The foreign minister has asked the research department in his ministry to draw up plans that will advise the government on possible ways of coping with a Palestinian initiative of that sort, and how to respond in the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council.
A top Foreign Ministry official said yesterday that the Palestinian Authority chairman had presented the Arab League with a comprehensive plan that included the possibility of seeking US and UN recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital if the negotiations were to end in failure.
The top official said that the decision to raise this issue before the Arab League’s monitoring committee, which attests to Palestinian willingness to report to the Arab states and to consult with them, indicates this issue is not merely a passing whim but, rather, is a “plan that is on the shelf. They are looking at its feasibility, advantages and disadvantages.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has also discussed with his advisers the possibility of a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence. Netanyahu has instructed the National Security Council to draw up a position paper on this issue. Netanyahu publicly addressed the possibility that the Palestinians might seek UN recognition of statehood.
“Any attempt to bypass the negotiations by appealing to international bodies is unrealistic, and nor will it promote the real peace process,” said the prime minister. “We expect of the Palestinians to keep their commitments and to continue to hold direct negotiations.”
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry is not only preparing for doomsday developments vis-à-vis the Palestinians. It turns out that Foreign Minister Lieberman has asked the ministry’s research department to prepare a report about the day in which “we wake up to discover that the Iranians have nuclear weapons.”
This is to be the first time that Israel will officially address the issue of the “day after” Iran has nuclear weapons.
Up until now Israeli officials have refused to entertain the possibility of the world “resigning” itself to a nuclear Iran, and chose to focus solely on how to prevent the regime in Tehran from obtaining those weapons.