'Palestine' Declarations a Strategy to Deny Israel?

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The U.S. and Israel have rejected a new political trend in South America.

In recent weeks, three South American countries have unilaterally recognized a Palestinian state. Some said those declarations are a part of a new Palestinian strategy to avoid U.S.-sponsored peace talks and deny Israel defensible borders.

Following a similar move by Brazil, Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said his country recognized Palestine as a free and independent state within the 1967 lines, supposedly in support of the negotiating process.

However, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said the move would not promote peace talks.

"The only way to peace is a negotiated settlement agreed to by both parties on two-state solutions for two peoples," Ayalon said.

"Every other way, whether it is unilateral declarations of statehood or an imposed peace, will only lead to more bloodshed and pain," he said.

The Israeli Knesset introduced a resolution last month rejecting the threats of some Palestinian leaders to declare unilateral statehood. Two weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives followed suit.

The House resolution reaffirms its strong opposition to any attempt to establish a Palestinian state outside the negotiating process. The resolution unequivocally opposes any attempt to seek recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations or other international forums.

Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the UN, said Palestinians have adopted the unilateralist route because they don't want to return to negotiations or compromise.

"They want everything," Gold said. "They want the '67 lines. They want to deny Israel defensible borders and they want to divide Jerusalem."

"When someone says they recognize a Palestinian State in the 1967 lines what they're talking about is rolling Israel back, so that it will not have defensible borders," he explained. "It will have to go back to the armistice lines of 1949 from which it was attacked. These were never international borders."

At this point, Gold said the recognitions won't change anything on the ground, but the question is how it's integrated into a broader Palestinian strategy.

"The next move, may be the U.N. General Assembly and after that the U.N. Security Council," Gold said.

"And then they want to produce a fait accompli so that they can say to the United States, 'Well, if you veto this, if you veto what we're doing, you're simply running against the will of the international community,'" he continued. "And maybe they can persuade the Obama administration to abstain."

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Julie Stahl

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