Abbas says he’s planning new UN statehood bid
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Abbas says he’s planning new UN statehood bid

PA leader asks for financial aid from Arab League; France to draft separate proposal for two-state solution

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) talks to Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah during a meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on January 15, 2015. (photo credit: Mohamed el-Shahed/AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) talks to Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah during a meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on January 15, 2015. (photo credit: Mohamed el-Shahed/AFP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that the PA intends to draft a new resolution calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state to be submitted to the UN Security Council in the near future.

Abbas made the announcement at an emergency Arab League meeting in Cairo on Thursday.

The new proposal, like its predecessor which the UN Security Council shot down in December 2014, will call for a state along the pre-1967 lines and will be in accordance with the Arab League Peace Initiative, a 2002 proposal brought forward by Saudi Arabia that promises normalizing ties with Israel in exchange for its complete withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem and a “just settlement” for the Palestinian refugees issue, Israel Radio reported.

Last month, a Palestinian proposal was rejected by the Security Council after failing to obtain the required majority of nine votes. The United States, a permanent member on the UN Security Council, indicated that it would have vetoed the resolution if it had passed.

In addition to the demand to recognize a Palestinian state, the previous proposal also called for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem by the end of 2017.

According to a Haaretz report on Friday, Palestinian officials said that several Arab countries put pressure on the PA not to turn to the Security Council at this time, in order to not strengthen Israeli right-wing parties in the lead up to the March 17 Israeli elections.

On Thursday, the Arab League Council adopted a Palestinian request for the establishment of a joint Arab committee to submit the new Palestinian draft to the UN. Abbas said that he will listen to the committee, made up of the Palestinians, Jordan, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Kuwait, and is committed to their decisions regarding the timing of the proposal’s submission.

The Arab League Council strongly opposed recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, calling the notion “racist,” and rebuked Jerusalem for its decision to withhold over $100 million in tax revenue collected on behalf of the PA in light of the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to turn to the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes, including during last summer’s 50-day conflict.

Some members of the US Congress have called on the Obama administration to cut the $400 million a year of aid Washington supplies the Palestinian Authority in protest of the Palestinian legal gambit against Israel in The Hague.

Abbas called on fellow Arab League members to help finance the Palestinian Authority in the wake of increased financial pressures by Israel and the United States. “We will not agree to remain an Authority without authority and a state without sovereignty,” said Abbas.

According to a report by the Washington-based Al-Monitor news website, Abbas informed Washington in advance of his intention to join the ICC. “Had America told Israel to stop settlements, we wouldn’t have gone,” Abbas stated, insisting that the decision to sue was made out of necessity.

In the Thursday meeting, Abbas asserted that the upcoming Knesset election in March was not reason enough to renew negotiations. “The resumption of talks requires an international position, especially from the United States,” said Abbas. “The Americans have long talked about ideas for negotiations, but so far have not submitted anything,” he said adding that the Palestinians were not going to continue negotiations without a clear strategy in mind.

French proposal

On Friday, France announced plans to draft its own proposal seeking a clear solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel Radio reported.

The proposal will seek a two-state solution based upon Israel’s 1967 lines that will differ from the current Palestinian plan.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated that he was working with US Secretary of State John Kerry in order to develop an agreeable draft proposal separate from that of the Palestinians.

Speaking with an Israel Radio correspondent, Fabius said it was highly unlikely that the new proposal will be unveiled before Israeli national elections in March.

France worked for weeks on an alternative to the last Palestinian resolution at the UN Security Council, but its more moderate draft was rejected by Abbas. France then joined those countries voting in favor of the Palestinian-backed resolution.

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