US says it will not support Palestinian UN bid

State Department spokesperson indicates Washington likely to veto text calling for Israeli withdrawal to 1967 lines by end of 2017

The United Nations Security Council meeting on September 19, 2014. photo credit: US State Department)
The United Nations Security Council meeting on September 19, 2014. photo credit: US State Department)

WASHINGTON — The United States will not support the current resolution put forward by the Palestinians setting the terms of a peace deal with Israel, a US official said Thursday.

Washington has seen the text of a draft resolution circulating in the UN Security Council and “it is not something that we would support,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

“We wouldn’t support any action that would prejudge the outcome of the negotiations and that would set a specific deadline for the withdrawal of forces,” Psaki said.

She did not count out a statehood-related resolution per se, saying the United States wanted “further consultations.”

Psaki noted that the Palestinians “are not pushing for a vote right now,” and said it was unlikely the measure would face a vote soon.

Jordan presented the measure on Wednesday to the UN Security Council on behalf of the Palestinians, who said they were open to negotiations on the text.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel would never accept “unilateral diktats” while his Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman dismissed the draft as a “Palestinian gimmick.”

Washington has repeatedly vetoed Security Council resolutions seen as undermining its close ally Israel.

The Palestinian draft resolution sets a 12-month deadline for wrapping up negotiations on a final settlement and the end of 2017 as the time frame for completing an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.

A final peace deal would pave the way to the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as a shared capital, according to the text.

But the deadlines set in the draft resolution for a final deal and the Israeli withdrawal were unlikely to win support from the United States.

The US administration opposes moves that bind negotiators’ hands through a UN resolution, particularly any attempt to set a deadline for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank.

“There is not the basis for consensus on the text as drafted and that is why we need to do some work,” said a Security Council diplomat.

France, working with Britain and Germany, is pressing on with a separate text on reviving the peace process, but it was unclear when that effort would yield results.

“We are continuing our work on a consensus text. We are working on the European text and we will see if we can make progress,” said a European diplomat.

‘Return Hamas to blacklist’

Separately, Psaki encouraged the European Union to return Hamas to a list of designated terrorist groups.

“We believe that the EU should maintain its terrorism sanctions on Hamas,” she said at the Wednesday briefing.

A European court said the 2001 designation was underpinned by faulty evidence, but effectively maintained the sanctions to give European authorities time to reinstate the ban.

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