Ministers in the Israeli cabinet threatened to take unilateral steps in response to the Palestinian plan to declare a Palestinian state without reaching a political agreement with Tel Aviv.
The Israeli Environment Minister Gilad Erdan threatened to halt the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and to re-increase the occupation army’s checkpoints at the entrances to Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank, in the event that the Palestinians make a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. “We will not allow the Palestinians to unilaterally declare a state then waste it,” he said.
Israeli Minister of Infrastructure Uri Landau warned that Israel could take unilateral steps of its own. He added, “The initiative is meant to torpedo any chance for negotiations.”
Landau said that the first steps that Israel must take is to immediately annex all the settlements in the West Bank to Israel, declare Israeli sovereignty on all C areas, and announce Israeli religious and divine rights to these areas. He added that this should be clear and undisputable, as a Palestinian unilateral action requires immediate response from Israel.
Erdan said that the Palestinians were “playing with fire,” and that the move to unilaterally declare an independent Palestinian state was “a storm in a teacup, an internal maneuver aimed at boosting the image of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”
Erdan stated that Palestinians will lose a lot by unilaterally declaring statehood, mentioning the possibility of “stopping the transfer of money that the Israeli government currently transfers to the Palestinian Authority,” in reference to tax payments Israel collects on the Authority’s behalf under interim peace deals.
He added that Israel could occupy the West Bank, restore the roadblocks that it had lately removed, and, more ominously, annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He threatened to totally cancel the Oslo accords.