Israeli leaders on Monday reiterated that a threatened unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence would be a mistake that would have long-lasting negative consequences for Palestinian aspirations of statehood.
Speaking before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said a Palestinian declaration of independence would be doomed to failure since it would violate and thereby nullify the Palestinians' agreement with Israel, freeing the Jewish state to reassert sovereignty over all the territories in question.
A day ealier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that is precisely what would happen, warning that a unilateral Palestinian declaration would result in even more severe unilateral steps by Israel.
Lieberman also insisted that the UN Security Council was unlikely to give its backing to a Palestinian state formed outside the framework of an agreement with Israel.
But chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told a Palestinian newspaper at the weekend that he had received "positive responses" to feelers put out at the UN. Erekat said that Palestinian representatives had won tacit approval for such a move from many Security Council members, even possibly the US.
The Palestinians claim that Israel is destroying the peace process and that there is little hope of a bilateral two-state agreement at this point, despite repeated attempts by Netanyahu to get Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table.
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