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Israel Braces For Palestinian Statehood Bid


Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, says in no uncertain terms that if Palestinians further their statehood bid at the U.N., it will jeopardize the existing agreements between the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the United States.

CORNISH: We have no agreements with a government of Palestine, and neither does the United States. So the emergence of a government of Palestine in place of the Palestinian Authority would place all of these pre-existing agreements in jeopardy.

CORNISH: What are the other repercussions that Israel is considering? I know, in the United States, Congress is talking about what to do with aid to the Palestinian Authority, which is about five hundred million dollars annually.

OREN: And that's a fear.

CORNISH: Are you saying this is about attacking Israel. But, of course, the argument from the Palestinian Authority is that this is a move for recognition that would bring some kind of parity or equitable role for them within peace talks.

OREN: Well, they haven't been at peace talks. We've been waiting for them to come to the negotiating table for about two and a half years now, and they haven't come to the negotiating table.

CORNISH: We are ready to negotiate with the Palestinians at any time, any place - whether in Ramallah or in Jerusalem - without preconditions on all the core issues to reach a two-state solution, a Palestinian state, an Israeli-Jewish state, living side by side in mutual recognition, security and peace, if only the Palestinians will come back to the negotiating table.

CORNISH: But negotiations have essentially been stalled for various reasons. And in effect, isn't what they're doing actually in some ways succeeding in goosing this conversation forward?

OREN: So essentially, by getting a Palestinian state unilaterally recognized without paying any price for it in the U.N., the Palestinians will hamstring their ability to make negotiations and make concessions, maybe for generations to come. It'll be very tragic.

CORNISH: Ambassador Oren, thank you so much.

OREN: Thank you, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.