Palestinian UN draft calls to resolve final status issues within a year
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Palestinian UN draft calls to resolve final status issues within a year

Text urges immediate restart of peace talks, end to Israeli settlement activity and settlers' 'acts of terror'

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) behind Comoros' President Ikililou Dhoinine during the family photo during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on November 30, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / MARTIN BUREAU)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) behind Comoros' President Ikililou Dhoinine during the family photo during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on November 30, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / MARTIN BUREAU)

A draft resolution by the Palestinian Authority distributed to UN members last week calls for the immediate resumption of peace talks with Israel and a final status agreement within a year, as well as a complete halt to all Israeli settlement activity.

A copy of the resolution was posted to the UN Report blog on Friday.

Israeli daily Haaretz, which first reported on the resolution, said the Palestinians want the Security Council to vote when PA President Mahmoud Abbas is in New York on April 22 for a high-level signing ceremony for the landmark climate agreement reached in Paris in December. Dozens of international politicians are expected to attend the ceremony.

The UN draft calls on “all parties to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process according to its agreed terms of reference and within the time frame specified by the Quartet [of Mideast peacemakers] in its statement of 21 September 2010.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat sign an application to join UN agencies, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat sign an application to join UN agencies, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

In the above-mentioned 2010 statement, the Quartet stated that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations could resolve all final status issues within one year.

The draft begins by reiterating the Palestinian demand that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem,” which it calls Israel’s “legal obligations in this regard.”

The draft singles out Israeli settlers, calling for the prevention of “all acts of terror, violence, destruction, harassment and provocation by Israeli settlers, and calls for accountability for the perpetration of all such illegal actions.”

While making no specific mention of Palestinian terrorism, the draft also calls for both parties “to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-state solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace.”

The text also urged the acceleration of international and regional diplomatic efforts to reach a solution. In this regard, the draft stressed the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative.

First endorsed by the Arab League in 2002, that initiative proposed a complete end to the Arab-Israeli conflict — including normalization of Israel’s relations with all Arab states — in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from land conquered in the 1967 Six Day War, as well as “just solution” to the Palestinian refugee issue.

Israel initially rejected the initiative over a series of highly fatal Palestinian terror attacks around the time it was proposed.

File. Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour at the UN Security Council in New York on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 (Frank Franklin II/AP)
File. Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour at the UN Security Council in New York on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 (Frank Franklin II/AP)

In recent years, however, Israeli officials have since expressed more interest in the initiative, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“This initiative is 13 years old, and the situation in the Middle East has changed since it was first proposed. But the general idea — to try and reach understandings with leading Arab countries — is a good idea,” Netanyahu said last May.

The Palestinian UN draft did not mention the ongoing French initiative to restart peace talks.

The international community considers Israeli settlements illegitimate, while Israel says settlements and other core issues such as security should be resolved in peace talks.

Netanyahu condemned the UN draft last Thursday, accusing Abbas of “taking a step that will push negotiations further away.”

The UN Security Council last voted to condemn Israeli settlements in February 2011. That resolution was broadly supported in a 14-1 vote, but was defeated by a US veto.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and built settlements there. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005; 600,000 Israeli Jews live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Illustrative photo of the West Bank settlement of Efrat, December 17, 2014 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of the West Bank settlement of Efrat, December 17, 2014 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

 

Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel Staff and AP contributed to this report.

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