Palestinian officials have begun circulating a draft resolution among members of the the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The resolution condemns Israeli construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and calls for its halt. It also condemns Israeli settler violence. In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that “(Mahmoud Abbas) is taking steps that will push negotiations farther away.”
The Palestinians are planning to test the outgoing Obama administration with this draft, After the US vetoed a similarly-worded resolution in 2011. This draft resolution is moderate in comparison to the resolution put forth by the Palestinians five years ago, as it doesn’t call for the establishment of a Palestinian state or for international protection.
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It is believed that this was done in order to make it harder for the US to use its veto power against this resolution. Adding to this is the fact that Washington has already intensified its rhetoric opposing construction in the West Bank recently.
Despite this, a Palestinian politicl fficial noted that the final decision of whether or not to put the resolution to a vote at the UN Security Council hasn’t been decided yet, although he said that as of now, it is very likely to happen. Abbas is expected to arrive in New York in two weeks for a three-day visit, in order to sign a climate change treaty
According to this same Palestinian official, the feeling within the Palestinian Authority is that Abbas will in fact take advantage of his visit to New York in order to put forth the resolution at the Security Council and be present during the vote – if it happens. Political officials say that the Palestinians are looking for ways to embarrass Israel, and jumped at this opportunity to do it while Abbas is in New York.
The Israeli UN delegation were unaware that the Palestinians were planning on putting forward this draft, but did notice that in the past few days there has been a lot of activity coming from the Palestinian delegation, and that the Israeli delegation alerted both the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s office.
Netanyahu’s office itself published a strong response to the draft resolution, saying “(Mahmoud Abbas) is taking steps that will push negotiations farther away. The only way to push the peace process forward is through direct negotiations, something which (Abbas) is evading. The Palestinians teach their children every day that the settlements include Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Acre.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said of the matter, “The Palestinians need to understand that there are no shortcuts. The only way to progress negotiations begins with condemning terror and stopping incitement, and ends in direct negotiations between the two sides. The Palestinians continue to try and deceive the international community by pushing forward initiatives which don’t contribute anything to either side.”