Officials in the Palestinian Authority said on Wednesday that the PA plans to ask the United Nations Security Council in the next few days to declare the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria illegal and demand a halt to construction of new Jewish homes in these areas.
The Associated Press obtained a draft of the resolution and made some of its contents public on Wednesday.
According to the AP report, the resolution “Reaffirms that the Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace…”
The resolution that goes on to demand that “Israel, the occupying Power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard…”
The draft, dated December 21, does not call for sanctions to be taken against Israel but rather “Urges in this regard the intensification of international and regional diplomatic efforts to support and invigorate the peace process towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
A senior PA official told AP on condition of anonymity that the conciliatory language in the draft was added in hopes of winning U.S. support.
So far, however, the proposal has received a cool reception in Washington, with State Department spokesman Mark Toner saying on Wednesday that while the U.S. agrees that continued construction in Judea and Samaria would be “corrosive” to peace efforts, it also believes that negotiations are the only way to achieve peace.
“We therefore consistently oppose any attempt to take final status issues to the (Security) Council,” said Toner. “Such efforts do not move us closer to our goal of two states living side by side in peace and security.”
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in response to the draft that “By choosing unilateralism over direct talks, the Palestinians are declaring that they renounce peace altogether. They are trying everything except to talk.”
While even PA officials acknowledge that moves such as the draft resolution will have little impact, they have admitted that they want the world to send a tough message to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who they believe is not serious about pursuing peace.
As PA representative at the U.N., Riyad Mansour, said, the new resolution resembles previous ones, but that the timing is important.
“The entire world knows that the settlements are the major obstacle before a peace deal,” he told AP. “This resolution doesn’t include sanctions, but it would form political pressure on Israel to implement the two-state solution.”
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