Israels efforts to rally countries against Palestinian Authority’s plans to ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines are hindered by the fact that Israel has not presented any plan of its own, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Israel has stepped up these efforts since the PA top negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said two weeks ago that the Palestinian leadership “decided to start implementing alternatives to negotiations, and the first of these is demanding recognition,” the Israeli media network reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed diplomats.
He said this decision had been taken because the PA leadership was convinced negotiations with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahus government were impossible because of settlement activities.
Israeli diplomats abroad have expedited efforts to convince countries not to support the recognition move, warning as Israeli diplomatic officials have been doing for months that it could lead to counter-moves by Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Among the Israeli unilateral actions reportedly discussed in various forums are annexation of large settlement blocs, and limiting the Palestinian use of Israels ports for imports or exports.
The PA, meanwhile, has accused Israel of trying to “bully” the United Nations. It has also dismissed as unacceptable Israeli threats to cut off ties with the PA if Hamas joined a Palestinian unity government.
The PA is expected to ask either the UN Security Council or General Assembly for recognition in September.
Sources in Netanyahus office said that the idea of unilateral Israeli moves has not been addressed by Netanyahu in recent meetings with top international officials, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Sen. John Kerry, or the foreign ministers of Norway or Sweden.
According to Israeli officials, the US is also trying to convince various countries to oppose the move, fearing that it would shatter the negotiations framework and lead to unilateral actions by both sides that would make reaching an agreement even more difficult.
But diplomatic officials said that it would be easier to lobby support if Israel had an alternative plan of where things were going.
Israel’s Channel 2 reported that one plan that was being considered and has even been discussed in the security cabinet was the construction of a 2 km-by-4 k. artificial island, 4.5 km. off the coast of Gaza and linked by a bridge.
According to the plan, Gazas exports and imports would go through this island, which would include a port and an airport. The island would be under the security control of NATO or another international body that would search the cargo going in and out of the Gaza Strip.
Israel has adamantly opposed opening a harbor or airport in Gaza because of security concerns.