The Palestinian campaign to secure full U.N. membership presents a greater threat to Israel than that posed by Hamas, the Israeli Finance Minister said on Wednesday.

“This Palestinian initiative represents a more serious threat than that posed by Hamas,” Yuval Steinitz told Israel's public radio, referring to Gaza's Islamist rulers whose founding charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

If the Palestinians made good on their plans to seek United Nations membership, Israel would “respond,” he promised.

Although Mr. Steinitz did not spell out exactly how Israel would retaliate, his remarks were made shortly after Haaretz newspaper published a report saying the Minister had blocked the payment of 380 million shekels ($106 million) in tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority.

The Minister, who belongs to the ruling Likud party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he believed it would be impossible to stop the bid which is to take place when the U.N. General Assembly meets in New York next month.

Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, who was also interviewed on public radio, said that if the Palestinian went ahead with their bid it would signal the end of all agreements signed with Israel. — AFP

Keywords: PalestineIsraelHamas

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