A unilateral Palestinian move toward statehood could be "dangerous," the president of the EU parliament said Tuesday during a visit to the West Bank.
Frustrated by a long-standing impasse in peace talks with Israel, the Palestinians have mounted a campaign for international recognition at the U.N. General Assembly in September.
European support would be critical, but EU parliament chief Jerzy Buzek sounded cool to the idea.
Speaking in Ramallah, Buzek said he "understood" the Palestinian position but added it could complicate peace efforts.
Achieving peace through negotiations would be "excellent," he said, "but unilateral declaration could be sometimes even dangerous."
Israel has denounced the move and has urged the Palestinians to return to peace negotiations instead.
Concerned about the possibility of Palestinian riots in September, Israeli police conducted a drill Tuesday simulating large-scale disturbances. Hundreds of police in riot gear took part.
Bentzi Sau, commander of the police Central District, told reporters that police were aware that a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinians "could cause disturbances of the kind we've seen in neighboring Arab countries."