Palestinians to seek UN resolution Friday on Israeli withdrawal

Palestinian Authority will turn to Security Council after Abbas’s address to UNGA, demanding pullout in 3 years to pre-67 lines

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at Cooper Union, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, in New York. (photo credit: AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at Cooper Union, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, in New York. (photo credit: AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

The Palestinian Authority is set to ask the UN Security Council to vote Friday on a resolution demanding the Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines in a timeframe of three years, Israel Radio reported Thursday.

According to the report, the resolution will be submitted following PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the UN General Assembly Friday evening.

Earlier Thursday, rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, headed by Abbas, reached a “comprehensive” agreement for the return of their unity government in Gaza after two days of talks in Cairo, negotiators from both sides said

Abbas met this week with US Secretary of State John Kerry who reiterated Washington’s opposition to the UN initiative and indicated that the US will likely veto the resolution. Kerry emphasized the US’s support for a two-state solution and said the only way to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was through negotiations.

Kerry’s high-profile bid to hammer out a full peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian Authority collapsed spectacularly in April amid bitter recriminations on both sides, despite more than a year of shuttle diplomacy.

Abbas has said a UN rejection of the resolution would prompt him to seek membership in international institutions and agencies. Aides said that would include the International Criminal Court, opening the door to war crimes charges against Israel for its military actions in Gaza and Jewish settlement construction on West Bank land the Palestinians want for a future state.

The recent Gaza war has weakened Abbas domestically, with Hamas enjoying a surge of popularity among Palestinians for fighting Israel. He is under pressure at home to come up with a new political strategy after his repeated but failed attempts to establish a Palestinian state through US-mediated negotiations with Israel.

Abbas adviser Nabil Abu Rdeneh has said the Palestinian leader would present a new strategy his UN speech. In recent weeks, Abbas and his aides have hinted at the outlines.

Under the plan, Abbas would ask the UN Security Council to issue a binding resolution, with a specific date for the Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines. The West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967, were recognized by the UN General Assembly in 2012 as making up a state of Palestine.

The US has urged Abbas not to turn to the Security Council, but has not offered an alternative, said a Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to discuss internal deliberations with the media. Abbas used meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly to gauge international support for his plan, said the official.

AFP contributed to this report.

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