Sunday, 14 August 2011
Israel ready for trouble as Palestinian bid goes to UN
The Israeli Army is planning to mobilise reserves next month in anticipation of possible clashes on the West Bank and with Syria when the Palestinians seek recognition of their own state at the United Nations.
Syrian President Bashir Assad's bloody suppression of domestic opponents may lead him to seek a diversion, say Israeli officials, by encouraging Palestinian refugees living in Syria to cross the border to the Golan Heights en masse, as they did twice earlier this year.
If Israeli soldiers drive them back again with live fire, the Syrians might respond with military force, according to this scenario, in an attempt to regain standing in the Arab world and with their own people. Another possibility is that peaceful demonstrations by Palestinians on the West Bank in support of the statehood bid might turn into riots reminiscent of earlier uprisings, whether through a random incident or by intent.
Former Israeli Army chief-of-staff General Shaul Mofaz said the "Arab Spring" which has seen unrest through much of the region was unlikely to skip over the Israeli-Palestinian nexus.
"September can potentially turn violent, with unclear results."
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki said yesterday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would personally present the request for UN membership to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on September 20.
Al-Malki claimed 122 states have recognised Palestine thus far. While support for the Palestinian bid seems assured in the General Assembly, the United States has said it would veto the move in the Security Council, whose approval is necessary if the Palestinians are to achieve full UN membership.
If only the General Assembly supports their request, the Palestinians would likely ask that their present status be upgraded from observer to non-member state, like the Vatican.
The American Administration has warned the two sides against taking unilateral action and has called instead for them to arrive at an agreement through direct negotiations. It has been almost a year since the two sides have talked.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10745160By Abraham Rabinovich
Location: Scotland, United Kingdom