Israel Issues Warning over Palestinian State Plans
Prime Minister Ehud Barak's principal adviser, Danny Yatom, warned Saturday that Israel would hit back militarily, politically and economically if the Palestinians unilaterally proclaim an independent state.
"If the Palestinians unilaterally proclaim their state, Israel will have to take a whole series of military, political and economic measures to defend their vital interests," Yatom told public radio.
These interests, he said, included the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, home to some 200,000 religious Jews.
Should Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat proceed with a declaration, he said, Israel would proceed with plans to annex the settlements.
Yatom said an objective of the now-stalled peace process was to negotiate conditions for the creation of a "thriving Palestinian state alongside Israel which has good relations with its neighbor."
On Monday, Arafat said the central committee of his Palestine Liberation Organization would meet before November 15 to discuss the creation of a Palestinian state.
"I do not know what the central committee will decide," Arafat said. "We are democratic, and what the central committee decides will be respected."
The Palestinian leader threatened to proclaim an independent state on September 13 but delayed the announcement after he received no support for this action from world leaders -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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