The Palestinian delegation to the United Nations has begun talks with members of the UN Security Council, ahead of submitting a resolution that would recognize a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders and set a clear timetable for the end of the Israeli occupation.
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According to senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah, the Palestinian delegation, headed by Riyad Mansour, has received directives on the matter and begun preparations for the arrival of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in New York next Monday. Abbas is expected to address the United Nations and submit the resolution to the Security Council, as decided by the Palestinian leadership and backed by the Arab League.
Palestinian officials who are familiar with the details of the talks told Haaretz that, as of now, they cannot say for sure what the positions of the permanent members of the Security Council will be, but there are positive signs from a number of countries, and opposition or objections from some quarters – first and foremost the United States and Britain. According to Palestinian officials, even if there is no majority for the resolution, or the Americans veto it, the Palestinians do not see this as the end. The next stage for them will be to join more international bodies, including the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Nevertheless, a senior Palestinian official told Haaretz that, if by the time Abbas gives his speech in New York, the Palestinians receive proposals that improve their diplomatic standing, they would be willing to consider withdrawing or postponing the proposal. The Palestinians did not have a concrete proposal at this time that could lead to progress in the diplomatic arena or set a date for the end of the occupation, the official said.
The proposal for the UN Security Council was discussed yesterday when Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Al Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah met with Abbas in Ramallah. This is the first official meeting with a Kuwaiti figure since 1967. The visit follows a long break in ties between Kuwait and the Palestine Liberation Organization, since the PLO supported Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War.
Sabah, who is also Kuwait’s deputy prime minister, arrived in Ramallah from Amman by helicopter. From there, he traveled by motorcade to Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He then returned to Ramallah for meetings with Abbas, at which the two officials signed agreements of cooperation between the PA and Kuwait, including exchanges of diplomats.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians are continuing preparations for a meeting of donor countries in Cairo next week. According to Egyptian sources, serious progress in negotiations cannot be made as long as the main Palestinian factions cannot agree on the administration of the Gaza Strip.