Israel has said that a successful bid by the Palestinians to secure recognition at the UN as a non-member state could lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority or a new intifada.
The warning comes as part of a fresh diplomatic campaign by Israel to block the Palestinian move.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry told Haaretz that the PA’s attempt to obtain a vote on the issue at the UN General Assembly next month would clash with the build-up to the elections in Israel, due to take place early next year.
Israeli politicians could spar with each other over who provides the more hawkish response to the Palestinian bid, officials said, and delaying the UN vote even by a few months could prevent disaster.
According to Haaretz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have warned EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton that a successful bid by the PA would be a “game-changer” and spark unilateral moves in response.
Mr Lieberman reportedly told Ms Ashton that responses could include stopping tax transfers to the PA or approving the construction of thousands of new houses in the settlements. He said that Israel could even sever all dealings with PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.