Jerusalem scrambles as European states move to upgrade ties with Palestinians
After reports reached Jerusalem that the Palestinian Authority is trying to persuade about a dozen European Union member states to upgrade the PA's diplomatic status, the Foreign Ministry on Monday ordered every Israeli envoy abroad to begin "urgent" diplomatic activity.
The aim is to thwart Palestinian efforts at drafting a United Nations resolution that would recognize a unilateral declaration of statehood and put international pressure on Israel to halt settlement construction.
And there is good reason for Israeli concern. Just look at what has already happened:
The PA is in the midst of three diplomatic activities aimed at the international community, Barak wrote in the cable:
advancing a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlement construction, securing international recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and improving the diplomatic stance of Palestinian representatives in Europe, East Asia and Latin America.
Israeli officials expect Ecuador to shortly announce it is joining Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia in recognizing a Palestinian state within the 1967 bordersDeputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon called his counterparts in Mexico and Chile in the past few days and asked them not to make a similar move.
So we can now add Ecuador to this growing list, and I'm guessing Mexico and Chile as well.
Then we turn to Europe:
In Europe, the fear is not of unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state but rather the less drastic step of upgrading the PA's diplomatic status. Spain and France have already taken this step, and the Israeli assessment is that Britain, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Malta, Luxembourg, Austria and perhaps other states are considering a similar move.
It is amazing that the concept of the PA going to the "international community" and to the UN in order to seek their coveted borders, without Israeli input or agreement - is becoming a reality. Months ago, when this rhetoric began, it seems far-fetched and unrealistic. And in just a matter of months we are seeing more and more countries agreeing to this and more and more momentum towards this effort.
Where this whole situation will end up - or how it will play into prophecy - is anyone's guess at this point, but right now it is just impossible to ignore.
We'll certainly be watching this closely and reporting on developments.