SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)-Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is asking the UN Security Council to set November 2016 as the deadline for ending the Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967, according to a draft resolution obtained by AFP on Wednesday.
The text, put forward by the Arab group, calls the full withdrawal of Israel from these territories “as rapidly as possible and to be fully completed within a specified timeframe, not to exceed November 2016.”
It calls for the world body to respect “the independence and sovereignty of the state of Palestine and the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people,” though the draft only demands Israel withdraws from territories occupied in 1967.
UN diplomats said the draft resolution stood little chance of being adopted, but the move presents the Security Council with a challenge on how to advance the Middle East peace track if the Palestinian demand is rejected.
The draft, circulated to council members, follows Abbas’ address last week to the UN General Assembly in which he called for a fast-track to statehood.
“The hour of independence of the state of Palestine has arrived,” Abbas said in his speech.
Although he did not set a deadline for fast-tracking to Palestinian statehood, at that time aides suggested they were eyeing 2017 as a possible date. The draft resolutions emerges to confirm a specific date.
“We are aware of President Abbas’ plans and we continue to believe — to strongly believe — that the only way to a negotiated solution is through negotiations between the two parties,” US Ambassador Samantha Power said Tuesday.
A diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that “the resolution itself is based on the parameters that have been constantly reiterated by the EU, the General Assembly itself and the Security Council.”
In the four-page text, the Security Council would assert “its vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side-by-side in peace within secure and recognized borders.”
It demands the “complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.”
Palestinian diplomats said they were aware of US opposition to setting a deadline, but that they hoped to garner strong support for the text from other countries.
Speaking to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah late on Tuesday, Abbas said the Palestinians are under heavy pressure to drop plans to seek a UN Security Council resolution to end post-1967 Israeli occupation, risking an annual $700 million in US aid.
“The Palestinian leadership is coming under heavy pressure not to go to the Security Council or join international organizations, and the main pressure relates to aid,” he said, indicating that an annual $700 million (555 million euros) in US aid was at stake.
“Relations with the US administration are strained… and it is not in our interest to worsen it. But at the same time, we cannot go back on our decision.”
Abbas vowed to press ahead with the move, warning that if it was shot down by a US veto, he would seek to join the International Criminal Court.
The Palestinians, who won the upgraded rank of UN observer state in 2012, have long threatened to petition the ICC over alleged Israeli war crimes, but have so far held back due to US and European pressure.