Israeli justice minister, Yossi Beilin, warned the Palestinians Tuesday that even if the rest of the world recognized the state they plan to declare they will never be independent without Israel's approval.
Beilin was reacting on public radio to the announcement late Monday by the Palestine Liberation Organization leadership that a Palestinian state will be declared September 13th.
This is the deadline the two sides have set themselves for a final peace accord, although they are still far from achieving it.
"Even if the whole world were to recognize such a unilaterally proclaimed state, it will not be independent as long as we don't recognize it," Beilin said.
"If the Palestinians declare a state unilaterally, I can say right now that it will remain a state on paper only, as was the case after a similar proclamation in 1988.
"I don't want to make threats, but it only needs us not to agree and they will have no access to the outside world, nor international status nor the possibility of going between the West Bank and Gaza."
Beilin, one of the architects of the 1993 Oslo accords, said the only way was to continue negotiating until an agreement is reached enabling the two sides to live in peace.
Meanwhile the radio quoted an anonymous senior Israeli official as saying that if the situation remains deadlocked both Israelis and Palestinians risk losing support in the United States - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)