Palestinians to submit revised statehood bid to UN

Arab ambassadors met on Monday to discuss Palestinian amendments to the resolution, a move opposed by Israel.

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RAMALLAH // Palestinians were due to submit the final draft of a statehood resolution to the United Nations yesterday, calling for a peace deal with Israel within a year and an end to occupation of Palestinian territories by the end of 2017.

An official said he hoped a vote on the resolution would be concluded by today or tomorrow.

Arab ambassadors met yesterday to discuss Palestinian amendments to the resolution, a move opposed by Israel.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas informed US secretary of state John Kerry that he would press ahead with the initiative despite Israeli and US opposition, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

The US state department said the plans to present the draft UN resolution “does not advance the goal” and does not address Israeli security needs.

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that if the Security Council does not reject the resolution, “we will”.

A resolution with such a timetable is almost certain to be rejected by the UN Security Council — either by a failure to get the minimum nine “yes” votes required or by a veto from the United States, which insists there must be a negotiated solution to the conflict. Several European countries had been pushing for a less stringent timeline that might win broader support.

Jordan, which represents Arab countries on the Security Council, called a meeting of the Arab Group in New York yesterday to discuss the draft.

“We want to discuss with the Arab Group the amendments that the Palestinians are proposing to the resolution and to see when is a good time to pass to a vote,” said Dina Kawar, the country’s UN ambassador. She has repeatedly said she wanted a consensus resolution agreed to by all 15 council members.

Ahead of the meeting, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians would submit the original draft resolution to the Security Council, “hoping to conclude the vote by tomorrow [today] or the day after”.

Palestinian officials said the proposal called for negotiations to be based on the territorial lines that existed before Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war.

“The draft resolution calls for the resumption of negotiations to solve all final status issues by no later than 12 months after the adoption of the resolution and ensures the end of the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will come no later than the end of 2017,” the Palestine Liberation Organisation said.

“It calls for two sovereign, democratic and secure states, Palestine and Israel.”

Israel, which pulled troops and settlers out of Gaza in 2005, claims its eastern border would be indefensible if it withdrew completely from the West Bank.

A Palestinian draft, submitted to the Security Council by Jordan on December 17, called for Jerusalem to be the shared capital of Israel and a Palestinian state.

The final proposal reverts to a harder line, saying only that East Jerusalem will be the capital of Palestine, the officials said. It also calls for an end to Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Several European parliaments have adopted motions calling for recognition of Palestine and the UN has warned of a possible return to war unless peace efforts are revived.

* Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press