The Palestinians submitted a draft United Nations Security Council resolution Thursday that requested a 12-month deadline to reach a peace deal with Israel and designated the end of 2017 as the final date for completing an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The text obtained by AFP said that a “just, lasting and comprehensive peace solution that brings an end to the Israeli occupation” and “fulfills the vision” of a Palestinian state should be reached no later than 12 months after the adoption of the resolution.
It also defined a series of parameters for the negotiated solution, including a phased Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories according to a time-frame “not to exceed the end of 2017.”
The Palestinian representative to the UN said there could still be negotiations on the text.
The draft was presented to the Security Council by fellow Arab member Jordan, envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters, thanking Arab and European nations for their assistance and indicating he would not press for a quick vote on the text, to allow for more discussion.
“We will continue negotiating with all of them and with the Americans if they are ready and willing, so that we perhaps can succeed in having something adopted by the Security Council to open a serious door to peace,” the envoy said following a meeting with Arab representatives.
“We are willing to work with those who want to work with us for meaningful things,” he added.
The Palestinians had earlier said they would seek a quick vote on the draft resolution; however, they backed down, apparently under pressure from Arab countries including Jordan, which is seeking a formulation of the resolution that will be acceptable to the United States.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier that Washington had “no problem” with a Palestinian attempt to boost their hopes for statehood, providing it didn’t heighten tensions.
“We haven’t seen the language yet; we don’t know precisely what was filed,” the US diplomat said, adding that Washington had been “troubled by some of the language that had been out there at different points of time.”
Kerry only returned Wednesday from a whirlwind three-day trip to Europe during which he sought to head off a showdown at the UN over the Palestinian resolution. He met with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat as well as his European counterparts and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We don’t have any problem with them a filing some resolution providing it’s done in the spirit of working with people to see how we could proceed forward in a thoughtful way that solves the problem (and) doesn’t make it worse,” Kerry told reporters at the State Department.
But he added it would be “premature to comment on language we haven’t seen, a process that has not yet fully taken shape.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki refused to comment on Palestinian claims that Kerry had told Erekat Washington would veto the resolution. The French foreign minister had also confirmed earlier this week that the US planned to veto the Palestinian draft in its current form.
Israel fiercely opposes any suggestion that the Security Council impose terms for a Palestinian state, insisting on bilateral negotiations. Talks initiated by Kerry last year broke down in the spring after the two sides couldn’t agree on the ground rules.
In the West Bank on Wednesday, Maliki, the Palestinian foreign minister, told the Voice of Palestine radio that after Jordan submitted the Arab-backed draft later Wednesday, there could be more negotiations on the wording.
Asked when the vote would be held, he said: “We were informed that France has agreed with the United States, the United Kingdom and Jordan to continue talks about the draft resolution in order to obtain the biggest possible number of votes and to avoid a veto” by the United States.
The Palestinian push at the Security Council is largely symbolic, but comes amid growing international pressure for Palestinian statehood which has seen a series of European parliaments vote to ask their governments to recognize a Palestinian state.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is under domestic pressure to take steps toward statehood after US-led negotiations with Israel hit a dead end. Israel has refused to resume talks with Abbas so long as he is partnered with Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules Gaza, in a so-called Palestinian unity government. Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel.
French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said France hopes to see a draft submitted that “is likely to have unanimous support.”
“The Palestinians announced the submission of a text in New York,” he said in an online briefing. “We will study it in light of that goal.”