Jerusalem: Israel's Foreign Ministry will launch a diplomatic offensive in a bid to foil Palestinian plans to gain United Nations recognition for a state in September, the Haaretz daily reported on Friday.
The ministry has established a "September Forum" and ordered all its envoys to report in on efforts to persuade other nations to oppose the unilateral Palestinian efforts, the newspaper said, citing confidential ministry papers.
"The goal we have set is to have the maximum number of countries oppose the process of having the UN recognise a Palestinian state," Foreign Ministry Director General Rafael Barak wrote in one internal memo, Haaretz said.
The paper instructed diplomats to meet with "the most senior politicians" and mobilise local organisations, the media and public opinion against the statehood bid.
Ministry officials could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas has said the Palestinians would seek UN recognition -- to be accepted as a full member of the world body -- at the General Assembly meeting in September if peace talks do not resume.
"The primary argument is that by pursuing this process in the UN, the Palestinians are trying to achieve their aims in a manner other than negotiations with Israel, and this violates the principle that the only route to resolving the conflict is through bilateral negotiations," Barak wrote.
The diplomats would also likely focus efforts in Europe, where states are divided over support for the Palestinian move.
"Our goal is to create momentum against recognition of a Palestinian state in September by creating a significant bloc of EU states that voice their opposition as early as possible to unilateral Palestinian action," wrote head of the ministry's Western Europe department, Naor Gilon, according to Haaretz.
The Palestinian move is unlikely to pass in the Security Council, where the US has said it will veto it.
Several EU nations, like Germany and Italy, have also indicated their opposition.
The peace process has been on ice since September when Israel refused to renew a partial West Bank building freeze. The Palestinians have since refused to talk while Israel builds on land they want for a future state.
First Published: Friday, June 10, 2011, 14:23