‘Israel will 'topple' Abbas if Palestine goes ahead with UN bid'
PTI | Nov 15, 2012, 11:55AM IST
Jerusalem: Israel will offer some sops to President Mahmoud Abbas led Palestinian Authority to lure him to give up on his UN bid to receive a non-member state status, failing which the Jewish state will opt to topple him, a media report here said.
An Israeli foreign ministry position paper states that should the PA bid come out successful later this month, the only viable option would be "to overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas," Ynetnews reported.
The paper, drafted ahead of the Palestinians' November 29 UN bid, said that "a soft response would be tantamount to an Israeli admission that it cannot handle the challenge".
The draft paper, which has been adopted by Israel's ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, states that the "reality of a UN-recognised Palestinian state would crush Israel's deterrence and completely undermine its credibility which would render any future settlement impossible".
The document reportedly further reveals that Abbas has serious concerns that he will meet the same fate as Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and ousted Tunisian leader Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali.
"In addition, the Saudis are accusing him of lack of efficiency and corruption," the paper says.
"Several Gulf states are also angry with Abbas for his removal of former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan who is trying to convince Arab leaders that Abu Mazen (nom de guerre for Abbas) is no longer relevant. As a result he has the support of important patrons in the Arab world".
However, the Foreign Ministry also recommended offering the PA some rewards if it changes its mind and withdraws its proposal.
According to the paper, if the Palestinians refrain from approaching the UN, Israel should negotiate a Palestinian state on provisional borders with the PA until the Arab world stabilises and Palestinian elections are held.
However, if the Palestinians decide to go ahead with their plan and receive upgraded status, Israel would consider it as the crossing of a "red line which merits a tough response".
The Foreign Ministry claimed that Abbas chose to take his bid to the UN now realising he needs to improve his popularity among Palestinians in light of his perceived inability to handle domestic challenges, particularly the economic challenge.
The Palestinian president is also worried about the exposure of more corruption allegations against him, it said.
Details about Abbas' income and assets have been disclosed by opposition elements within his own Fatah movement ever since he became its Chairman.
According to the paper, Abbas earns USD 1 million a month.
US President Barack Obama's annual salary, in comparison, stands at USD 400,000.
The paper also quoted data published by the Inlight Press website according to which Abbas holds several Jordanian accounts of more than USD 500 million, mostly Palestinian tax payer money.
"The accounts are not under any national or international scrutiny," the draft position paper said.
"Recently Abbas urged Moscow to supply him with a new advanced presidential jet worth USD 55 million despite the fact that he has a new Global Express speed jet bought for USD 53 million at his disposal. In addition he also uses a 504 Challenger jet," it added.
The paper further noted that the Foreign Ministry is slated to release a report for donor states which shows that Abbas's personal expenses in the past eight years have exceeded USD 1 billion.
It also claims that PA sources said that the President owns many lands.
The paper claims that Abbas's sons are given a share of all Palestinian Authorities projects, based on information from the Inlight Press website.
"This explains why Abu Mazen tried to promote a Dead Sea tourism project funded by Gulf states. It is claimed that his sons won contracts for more than USD 250 million".
The website had apparently also revealed that Abbas had prepared a plan to flee the Palestinian Authority to Jordan more than a year ago.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry believes these reports are credible and had relayed the information to the US State Department.
Israeli sources reportedly claimed that the CIA is now reviewing the data.
"As far as the donor states are concerned the most serious issue is that large sums of money meant to aid needy Palestinians were stolen and transferred to an investment fund run by Abu Mazen's associate Mohammed Mustafa," the paper said.
The document further suggested that Abbas and his staff are worried that the Palestinian issue is no longer part of the Israeli discourse.
"They are aware that the lack of interest is derived from the deep mistrust towards Abu Mazen".
The Israeli Foreign Ministry claimed that the fact that Abbas continues to postpone the presidential and parliamentary elections which were meant to take place in 2010 "indicates that there is no assurance that any Palestinian administration will see itself bound to the agreements with Israel".
(Photo: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a ceremony marking the eighth anniversary of the death of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Reuters)