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Israel ministry proposes 'toppling' Abbas over UN bid

If a Palestinian bid of state observer status at the United Nations is approved later this month, Israel has threatened to "topple" Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and his regime

AFP , Wednesday 14 Nov 2012
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stands in front of a banner with a picture of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during a ceremony marking the eighth anniversary of his death in the West Bank city of Ramallah (Photo: Reuters)
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Israel's foreign ministry has proposed in a policy paper "toppling" Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas if a Palestinian bid for state observer status at the United Nations is approved later this month.

"Toppling Abu Mazen's (Abbas's) regime would be the only option in this case," the position paper obtained by AFP says. "Any other option... would mean waving a white flag and admitting the failure of the Israeli leadership to deal with the challenge."

The position paper is a draft document that is expected to be endorsed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who would then present it to the Israeli officials charged with formulating Israel's response to the Palestinian bid.

Lieberman has already reportedly expressed his view that Abbas's Palestinian Authority should be dismantled if the UN bid succeeds.

The Palestinians are expected to present their bid for state observer status at the General Assembly on November 29, over opposition from the United States and Israel.

The bid comes slightly more than a year after the Palestinians sought full UN membership at the Security Council, a request that stalled there because of opposition from the United States, a permanent member and veto-holder.

But the bid for enhanced membership through the General Assembly, which would elevate the Palestinians to a non-member state, is expected to easily succeed, prompting a harsh Israeli response.

The ministry paper warns that Israel "must extract a high price from Abu Mazen," and that receiving state status at the UN "would be considered a crossing of a red line."

Israel's Channel 10 reported November 5 that Lieberman had backed the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority, in comments to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

"If the Palestinians go to the UN General Assembly with a new unilateral initiative, they must know they will be subject to severe measures by Israel and the United States," the station quoted Lieberman as saying on October 24.

"If the Palestinians pursue their project at the UN, they are definitively destroying the chances of peace talks," he reportedly added.

"If they persist with this project, I will ensure that the Palestinian Authority collapses."

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