Palestinians advancing UN resolution against annexation, Israel says

So far no draft of non-binding General Assembly resolution circulated; Israel ‘prepared to defend any decision,’ ambassador vows, slamming Ramallah’s ‘political terrorism’

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the 74th Session of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York on September 26, 2019. (Timothy A. Clark/AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the 74th Session of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York on September 26, 2019. (Timothy A. Clark/AFP)

The Palestinian Authority is planning to get the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Israel’s plan to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank, Jerusalem’s mission to the UN in New York said Saturday.

Ramallah plans to bring the resolution to a vote in the General Assembly, where it is sure to pass with an overwhelming majority, even before the Israeli government takes any active steps to apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and all settlements across the West Bank, the mission said in a statement.

“Although the General Assembly is currently not convening due to the coronavirus pandemic, special resolutions and voting procedures can still be administered,” according to the statement.

General Assembly resolutions are non-binding.

In contrast, any resolution critical of Israel proposed at the Security Council would be doomed to fail due to the near-certain American veto.

Israel’s previous annexations of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, in the early 1980s, were declared null and void by the Security Council, but the US is sure to block any effort to censure an Israeli move made in accordance with the peace proposal the White House released in January, which indicates a green light for annexation.

As of Sunday noon, no draft of the resolution had been circulated.

Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks during a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters on, February 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“As much as is needed, we are prepared to defend any decision the Israeli government makes before the UN, and to work with our friends around the world to thwart hostile initiatives,” Israel’s outgoing ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said.

“The solution to the conflict will come through direct negotiations in Jerusalem and not through political terrorism in New York. The international community needs to know that legitimizing Palestinian provocations rewards Abu Mazen’s refusal to have a dialogue with Israel,” he added, using PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s nom de guerre.

Danon is slated to end his five-year term as Israel’s top envoy to the UN. He will be replaced by Gilad Erdan, who is currently serving as regional cooperation minister but is set to become UN ambassador as soon as the government formally confirms his appointment.

According to the coalition agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White list, the annexation of some 30 percent of the West Bank can be brought to a vote in the cabinet or the Knesset as early as July 1. However, Likud officials have in recent days indicated that the process may be delayed by a few days or weeks.

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