• Palestine to file bid vs Israeli occupation

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    UNITED NATIONS (UN), United States: The Palestinians are set to submit on Wednesday a draft UN resolution demanding an end to Israeli occupation despite warnings that the United States (US) is ready to veto the measure.

    An Arab-backed text setting November 2016 as the deadline for an Israeli withdrawal will be formally submitted to the UN Security Council. The 15-member council will vote at a later date.

    “We will submit our project to the UN Security Council tomorrow,” Nimr Hammad, an adviser to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, told Agence France-Presse on Tuesday.

    The decision follows the latest series of meetings between US Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian negotiators and European ministers.

    Kerry suggested a UN resolution could play into the hands of Israeli hardliners as the country heads toward elections in March.

    “Many of us share a deep sense of urgency about this,” he insisted. “But we’re also very mindful that we have to carefully calibrate any steps that are taken for this difficult moment in the region.”

    The Palestinians began circulating a draft at the end of September, after President Mahmud Abbas told the UN General Assembly that it was time to fast-track Palestinian statehood.

    The text, put forward by the Arab group, calls for “the full withdrawal of Israel, the occupying power, from all of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.”

    This should be completed “as rapidly as possible and to be fully completed within a specified timeframe, not to exceed November 2016.”

    It asks the world body to respect “the independence and sovereignty of the state of Palestine and the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.”

    Diplomats, however, are saying that the text stands no chance of approval, but the Palestinians want to jolt the Security Council into action to address the worsening Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    AFP

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