Palestinians submit statehood plea to UN, want Israel out by 2016

Security Council petition calls for West Bank withdrawal, ‘a just resolution’ to the refugee problem, and an end to all military and settlement activity

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly on September 26, 2014, in New York. (photo credit: AFP/Timothy A. Clary)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly on September 26, 2014, in New York. (photo credit: AFP/Timothy A. Clary)

The Palestinians have asked the UN Security Council to set a deadline of November 2016 for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

A draft resolution circulated to council members and obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press also called for “a just resolution” of the status of Jerusalem as the capital of two states, and of the Palestinian refugee problem.

It follows Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s announcement to the UN General Assembly on Friday that he would ask the council to set a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal.

The draft also demands an end to all Israeli military operations and settlement activities, the opening of all border crossings in the Gaza Strip, and deployment of “an international presence” throughout the Palestinian territories to protect Palestinian civilians.

Abbas said Wednesday that the PA would reevaluate its security coordination with Israel in the West Bank if its statehood bid to the UN Security Council was rejected, and added that the Palestinians would file for membership to the ICC if the resolution failed to pass, according to Arabic media.

Speaking to journalists in Ramallah, Abbas said the Palestinians were meeting with representatives of the Security Council states to persuade them to accept the resolution once proposed. He added that once a timetable for Israeli withdrawal was set, he would agree to return to the peace talks with Israel.

“As soon as we get that, we are willing to return to the negotiating table,” he said, according to the Haaretz daily.

The unilateral move, widely expected to be shot down in a veto, has been lobbied against by Israel and the United States, which say the conflict needs to be resolved through a negotiated settlement.

Israel’s Channel 2 quoted the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat saying that the US has already told him it will veto Abbas’s statehood resolution.

Nonetheless, the Palestinians are pushing to try to win the support of 9 of the 15 UN Security Council members in order to force a veto.

The TV report also quoted a new series of offensive statements made against Israel by leading PA figures.

“We are the lords of the land for 3,000 years, Netanyahu can return to his Brooklyn roots,” Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, said Wednesday in connection with the statehood bid.

Channel 2 also showed a clip of Abbas aide Jibril Rajoub calling Netanyahu a “Nazi fascist.”

The PA president on Wednesday reiterated his stance against armed conflict with Israel, stating that “not even one bullet” would be fired under his watch.

The PA has repeatedly threatened to apply for membership in the international court, and lodge war crime charges against Israel. However, Abbas has yet to submit an application, according to ICC officials. Membership in the ICC would also place Hamas under international scrutiny for firing rockets on Israeli civilians.

Abbas’s remarks follow a strongly worded address he made at the UN, in which he accused Israel of “genocide” against the Palestinians.

In response, Netanyahu on Tuesday decried Hamas’s use of human shields and firing rockets on Israeli civilians and held Abbas responsible.

“And I say to President Abbas, these are the war crimes committed by your Hamas partners in the national unity government which you head and you are responsible for. And these are the real war crimes you should have investigated, or spoken out against from this podium last week,” Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly.

He also indicated that the peace talks should be coordinated with the Arab world.

Netanyahu said “to achieve that peace, we must look not only to Jerusalem and Ramallah, but also to Cairo, to Amman, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and elsewhere. I believe peace can be realized with the active involvement of Arab countries, those that are willing to provide political, material and other indispensable support.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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