'We'll change face of the Mideast if settlements continue'
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH AND REUTERS
Abbas aide says PA will take "dangerous decisions" if Israel continues with policies. Malki: We won't accept less than full UN membership.
The Palestinian Authority continued on Thursday to issue threats in response to Israel's decision to expedite construction in settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods following the admittance of the Palestinians to UNESCO.
Palestinian officials also warned that Israel's decision to freeze tax revenues to the Palestinians would lead to the collapse of the PA.
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Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, announced that the PA was about to take "important, big and dangerous decisions" if Israel continued with its current policies.
He did not give further details about the expected decisions.
However, Abu Rudaineh said in an interview with BBC that the planned decisions would "change the face of the entire Middle East."
Last week, Abbas issued a similar threat, telling an Egyptian TV station that he was considering "dangerous and significant" decisions in wake of the continued stalemate in the peace process.
PA officials in Ramallah said they believed that the decisions include either the dismantlement of the PA or the resignation of Abbas.
At a meeting of the Fatah Revolutionary Council in Ramallah last week, Abbas hinted at the possibility of dissolving the PA when he told delegates that the PA "was not a real authority."
Some Palestinians believe that dissolving the PA would be the most appropriate way to "punish" Israel for its refusal to stop construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods and accept the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.
These Palestinians argue that dissolving the PA would mean that Israel would have to assume responsibility for running the day-to-day affairs of the Palestinians, at least in the West Bank.
"The status quo can't continue," said a PA official in Ramallah. "We have reached the conclusion that the international community can't do anything to force Israel to move forward with the peace process."
Abbas, meanwhile, said that Israel's insistence on building new homes in settlements and east Jerusalem was the "major obstacle to peace."
Abbas told a visiting EU delegation that he was determined to go proceed with plans to achieve full membership of a Palestinian state in the United Nations. He explained that the move does not contradict with the principle of negotiations with Israel, but would rather facilitate the talks.
Abbas too told the delegation that the "status quo" can't continue forever and that the international community should intervene to break the stalemate.
Adding to the voices, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said Thursday that the Palestinians will not accept anything less than full United Nations membership and do not want an upgrade to an observer state in the world body.
Riyad al-Malki's remarks suggested the Palestinians would not seek such an upgrade once their bid for full state membership meets the fate widely expected for it - failure because of opposition from the United States, among other governments.
"We do not want, after all of these struggles, sacrifices, and efforts by the entire Palestinian people, to accept an observer state in the United Nations. We will not accept less than we deserve: a full member state," he said.
"At this moment, we are not concerned with applying for membership for Palestine in the rest of the international organizations," he told journalists in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. "The official Palestinian position is to concentrate only on the request for membership which we presented to the United Nations," Malki said