Text says deal breaches law, undermines Palestinian rights

Palestinians float UN resolution against Trump peace plan

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas set to attend Security Council vote next Tuesday; draft expected to get broad support but will be blocked by US veto

Raphael Ahren is a former diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations Security Council on February 20, 2018 in New York (AFP/Timothy A. Clary)
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations Security Council on February 20, 2018 in New York (AFP/Timothy A. Clary)

The Palestinian Authority is proposing a United Nations Security Council resolution denouncing the US administration’s peace plan, saying it violates international law.

The draft will likely be voted on Tuesday, in the presence of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. It has virtually zero chances of being adopted, due to the expected US veto. The peace plan, which was presented by US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, explicitly states that Washington will veto any attempt to condemn it at the UN.

Still, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, on Wednesday lashed out at the Palestinians. “Enough with the shows already. Instead of coming to the UN, come to the negotiating table,” he said in a statement.

Danon has been busy for the last few days engaging with his counterparts on the Security Council “to enlist their support for the joint US-Israeli action and to prevent support for any Palestinian declarations of protest,” the Israeli UN mission said in a statement.

France, Russia, China, Tunisia, Indonesia, Niger and South Africa are sure to support the resolution. Belgium, Estonia and Vietnam can also be expected to support the text. It is unclear how the remaining states on the 15-member council will vote.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN General Assembly on Thursday, November, 29 (photo credit: courtesy MFA)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN General Assembly on Thursday, November 29, 2012 (courtesy MFA)

How Germany and the United Kingdom will proceed also remains unclear. London initially seemed supportive of the plan but later warned Israel not to annex the areas of the West Bank it earmarked for Israel. Berlin would appear to agree with most of the resolution’s context but has vowed to counter the UN’s obsessive bashing of Israel.

“The draft resolution that will be voted on in the Security Council will include the rejection of the Trump-Netanyahu deal,” Saleh Rafat, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said Wednesday.

Trump’s plan, which Netanyahu enthusiastically supports, is “the opposite of the UN Security Council resolutions on the Palestinian conflict,” he said.

If vetoed at the Security Council, the issue will be taken to the UN General Assembly, according to Rafat. Resolutions at the GA cannot be vetoed and therefore any pro-Palestinian text is guaranteed to be adopted with an overwhelming majority.

The draft, a copy of which was obtained by The Times of Israel, “strongly regrets” the so-called Deal of the Century, which was unveiled at the White House last week.

US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint statement in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images/AFP)

The plan “breaches international law and the internationally endorsed terms of reference for the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as enshrined in the relevant United Nations resolutions, and undermines the inalienable rights and national aspirations of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and independence,” the document goes on.

Annexing any part of the Palestinian territories would be illegal and under international law, the draft resolution states, condemning recent promises by Netanyahu to apply Israeli sovereignty over the entire Jordan Valley and all settlements throughout the West Bank.

It further calls for the “achievement, without delay” of an Israel-Palestinian peace agreement based on previous UN resolutions, and “an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967.” The document reaffirms “its unwavering support, in accordance with international law, for the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders.”

It urges the nations of the world not to recognize any changes to the 1967 lines, including in Jerusalem, “by ensuring that their statements, actions and agreements with Israel do not imply recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the territories occupied since 1967.”

In conclusion, the resolution calls for the “intensification and acceleration” of international and regional efforts to start “credible negotiations” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including by convening “an international peace conference… at the earliest possible date.”

On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a speech to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, did not explicitly refer to Trump’s peace plan, but indicated that he continues to support a more traditional approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres awaits the arrival of Netherland’s foreign minister at UN headquarters, May 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

“The position of the United Nations on the two-state solution has been defined, throughout the years, by relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions by which the Secretariat is bound,” he said.

“The United Nations remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict on the basis of United Nations resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements and realizing the vision of two states – Israel and Palestine – living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.”

Guterres went on to say that the UN has been “raising alerts about actions that would erode the possibility of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state,” such as the expansion of settlements.

AFP contributed to this report.

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