• Palestinians to submit UN resolution this month


    RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: The Palestinian leadership will submit a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council this month calling for an end date for Israeli occupation, a senior official said on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).

    The text, which the Palestinians have been discussing for weeks, is expected to be vetoed by permanent member the United States.

    But officials in Ramallah have said that will not deter them after round upon round of failed peace talks with Israel.

    “No other solution has been proposed by the United States,” senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Wassel Abu Yusef told Agence France-Presse.

    “The US administration is pushing to resume bilateral negotiations, even while it’s clear that these have failed throughout the last few years,” he added.

    The last round of talks broke down in April after nine months of fruitless US-brokered meetings which were overshadowed by persistent Israeli settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.

    The Palestinians have been under intense pressure not to push forward with the Security Council resolution—including with alleged threats of cuts to US aid.

    In New York, Australia’s UN ambassador Gary Quinlan, whose country currently chairs the Security Council, said it was unclear whether a draft resolution put forward by Jordan on behalf of the Palestinians would come up for a vote in November.

    “At the moment, there is no indication when something might be brought to the council or when the next stage of negotiations on that text will happen,” he said.

    Experts have met once to discuss the draft that sets 2016 as the date for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, and no other meetings have been scheduled.

    The text was circulated to the 15 members of the council in early October.

    PLO Secretary General Yasser Abed Rabbo had said last month that the text would be submitted by the end of October but that target date passed.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated to Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat during a Monday meeting in Washington that the US was opposed “to unilateral steps by either party that attempts to prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

    Nothing has yet been tabled at the United Nations, she noted in Tuesday remarks, “so this is a preliminary discussion. And obviously having a back-and-forth and hearing from them is part of the reason to have a meeting.”

    Urging the UN to call for an end to the Israeli occupation “contradicts their stated goal of a two-state solution and having their own state, an aspiration we support,” Psaki added.

    The Palestinians have said that if Washington does wield its veto, they will seek membership of the International Criminal Court, where they could sue Israeli officials over alleged war crimes in the occupied territories.



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