PLO Votes to Sign Palestine Up for 63 UN Accords - Abbas to Decide When

'We want the occupation to cost Israel dearly,' says Palestinian official, announcing new, confrontational stance.

Jack Khoury
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PA President Mahmoud Abbas (center, on panel) at PLO Central Council meeting, April 26, 2014.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas (center, on panel) at PLO Central Council meeting, April 26, 2014.Credit: Reuters
Jack Khoury

The Palestinian Liberation Organization has decided to press its bid for statehood by signing Palestine on to 63 international UN conventions, senior PLO officials said Monday. This was one of a series of resolutions passed Sunday night by the PLO's Central Council, its highest body, at the close of a two-day session in Ramallah.

However, the decision of when to turn to the United Nations over Palestine's inclusion in the accords was left to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"The president said this will come at the proper time," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Voice of Palestine Radio.

In addition, the PLO voted to ask the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly to condemn Israel for settlement construction, anti-Palestinian actions in Jerusalem, and harm to the status of churches and mosques, especially Al-Aqsa on Jerusalem's Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.

The council also voted to demand that UN member states boycott companies and institutions cooperating with the occupation.

"We want the occupation to cost Israel dearly in political and international terms," a senior PLO official told Haaretz. The official said the Palestinians are embarking on a new, confrontational stance toward Israel.

"In recent years," he said, "Israel's strategy was to strip the Palestinian Authority of all authority except to pay salaries so the security coordination [with Israel] could go on, and the division between the West Bank and Gaza could go on. Now we've started the reconciliation [between Fatah and Hamas] and the unifying of ranks, and our next move will be to go to the UN."

In another resolution, the 120-member Central Council affirmed its "absolute rejection" of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

At the same time, though, the council voted to leave the door open to resuming negotiations with Israel on the basis of international resolutions and on condition of an Israeli settlement freeze.

The council's refusal to halt the peace talks outright led representatives of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to walk out of the meeting.

The PLO's moves follow Israel's suspension of the peace talks last week after Abbas' Fatah party signed a unity agreement with Hamas, culminating a month of tit-for-tat diplomatic blows that began when Israel refused to carry out its last scheduled release of Palestinian prisoners.

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