Palestinians unveil a tougher UN resolution on statehood
Arab ambassadors on Monday endorsed Palestinian amendments to a United Nation’s resolution that calls for an end to Israel's occupation within three years, a proposal strongly opposed by Israel and the United States.
Jordan's U.N. Ambassador Dina Kawar, the Arab representative on the Security Council, told reporters after the closed-door meeting of the 22 Arab envoys that the revised text would be submitted to the council.
The draft resolution affirms the urgent need to achieve "a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution" to the conflict within 12 months and sets a December 31, 2017 deadline for Israel's occupation to end.
It calls for an independent state of Palestine to be established within the June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and security arrangements "including through a third-party presence."
It demands "a just solution" to all other outstanding issues including Palestinian refugees, prisoners in Israeli jails and water resources.
The Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour told reporters after the meeting that a vote could place Tuesday, or the day after. But Kawar, when asked whether the vote could be put off until after January 1 said: "Everything is possible."
Cycle of failed talks
Five newly elected members joining the Security Council on Thursday are considered more supportive of the Palestinians than the five members leaving the council and could give them the nine "yes" votes to force a US veto.
U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters in Washington that the new draft resolution "is not something that we would support, and other countries share the same concerns that we have."
"We think it sets arbitrary deadlines for reaching a peace agreement and for Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank, and those are more likely to curtail useful negotiations than to bring them to a successful conclusion," Rathke said. "Further, we think that the resolution fails to account for Israel's legitimate security needs."
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Monday that if the Security Council doesn't reject the resolution, "we will." Netanyahu said Israel expects at least "the responsible members" of the international community to vigorously oppose the resolution "because what we need always is direct negotiations and not imposed conditions."
Mansour, the Palestinian envoy, has said the Palestinians can't return "to the same cycle of failed negotiations," which he says Israel uses to entrench its occupation. He has urged international support for the resolution setting a 2017 deadline for a complete Israeli withdrawal.
The Palestinians initially circulated a draft resolution in October asking the council to set a deadline of November 2016 for an Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.
France had been working for a UN resolution aimed at restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, setting a two-year deadline for success.