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Israel on offensive over Palestinian diplomacy: Report

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 16:27

Jerusalem: Israel has ordered its envoys
abroad to launch a "comprehensive defence" against Palestinian efforts for international recognition of an independent state,
Haaretz newspaper reported on its website Tuesday.

With the breakdown of peace talks, the Palestinians
have said they are considering new diplomatic options, and
welcomed recent announcements by several Latin American
nations recognising a Palestinian state.

The move away from talks and toward international
recognition has prompted an Israeli diplomatic
counter-offensive, Haaretz reported, citing a classified
Foreign Ministry cable.

The newspaper`s website said the document, penned by
Foreign Ministry director-general Rafael Barak, calls on
Israeli envoys to begin a "comprehensive defence along the
home-front," seeking to undermine Palestinian diplomatic

It calls on Israeli diplomats to thwart three
Palestinian initiatives: a United Nations Security Council
resolution condemning settlement activity, international
recognition of a Palestinian state, and the upgrading of
Palestinian diplomatic representations in Europe and Latin

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor
refused to confirm or deny the cable`s existence, saying he
would not comment on the Ministry`s internal workings.

"What I can say is that Israeli diplomats as a matter
of routine are instructed to promote and expose the Israeli
position on this and other issues," he told AFP.

Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the
first for nearly two years, began in Washington on September
2. But they quickly stalled, when a 10-month Israeli settlement freeze expired on September 26.
The Palestinians refused to resume negotiations
without a new moratorium, but Washington admitted last week
that it had failed to convince Israel to renew the building
ban, despite offering a generous package of incentives.

Palestinian negotiators have emphasised a set of
alternatives to new talks, including seeking recognition of a
Palestinian state along the borders that existed in 1967,
before the Six Day War.
Several Latin American nations, including most
recently Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, have said they
recognise a Palestinian state along those borders, and others
in the region have said they will do so soon.

The Palestinians have also successfully upgraded the
level of their diplomatic representation in several EU
countries, including France and Spain, and are seeking similar
measures across Europe.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 16:27

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