Israeli officials are warning of a potential return to violence and Palestinian leaders of an end to the Oslo peace process, as the diplomatic battle over a planned UN vote on Palestinian statehood heats up across Europe.
As the Israeli prime minister and Palestinian president lobbied their counterparts in London, Paris and Berlin yesterday (5 May), Ran Curiel, the Israeli ambassador to Brussels, warned of an "eruption of violence" if a Palestinian state is recognised in September.
"It opens a lot of options because it goes back on all the 'acquis' of the peace process," he said, speaking to EURACTIV.
"Unfortunately one of the alternative possibilities is that the gap between the declarations and reality on the ground might not bring a state but another round of violence," he added.
In an exclusive interview, Curiel denied that Israel would initiate any fighting by militarily reoccupying urban areas of the West Bank, for example.
He also said that a Palestinian state was in Israel's national interest, a word formulation favoured by Washington which no Israeli official has used before.
But Israel has come under diplomatic pressure over the statehood bid, particularly since the signing of a unity pact between the two governing Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas.
The EU is the world's largest donor to the Palestinian Authority, contributing €590.5 million in 2009, mostly for state-building purposes.
Mustafa Barghouti, an independent former PA presidential candidate and information minister in the last Palestinian unity government, called on the EU to support the Palestinian initiative as "the last and only way of saving the two-states option".
"Anything short of that – or any hesitation about recognising a Palestinian state by September – will mean the end of the two-state solution, the probable collapse of the PA, and the final collapse of the whole Oslo process and agreement," he told EURACTIV.
Palestinians would have to seek other options if that happened, he added.
A civil rights-style campaign for a 'one state' solution in which Jews and Arabs would share equal civic rights has gained traction among Palestinians, as hopes for a separate state have faded.
This could involve a non-violent campaign of protests in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as boycotts, divestments and solidarity actions abroad.
Later this month, pro-Palestinian campaigners plan to sail their second flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip.
Nine activists on board the first flotilla in May 2010 were shot dead by Israeli commandos, after their boat containing humanitarian aid and construction materials was boarded in a military operation.
An Israeli embassy briefing paper claims that the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told an Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) on 13 April that she viewed the planned second flotilla as a "provocation".
"Of course we would like to see it being said publicly," Curiel told EURACTIV, "as it was [also] said by other dignitaries or officials of the EU. But in private, the reading we are hearing is similar to ours".