Palestinians Slow to Win Support for End-of-occupation Bid at UN

A senior Palestinian official says the PA is waiting for a change in the Security Council’s makeup to get the nine votes it needs.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Abbas, listening to Saeb Erekat, April 9, 2014.
Abbas, listening to Saeb Erekat, April 9, 2014.Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

The Palestinians are having problems in their efforts to urge nine members of the UN Security Council to support a motion for a timetable mandating the end of the occupation, chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has told Palestinian media.

Meanwhile, a senior aide to President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinian Authority has not received any word from Washington about a peace initiative that would forestall the PA’s efforts at the United Nations on the timetable.

Israeli officials have said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is promoting a new peace initiative to thwart the Palestinians’ application regarding the timetable. Kerry has thus asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if he would resume talks based on the 1967 borders and land swaps.

Israeli and American officials say Netanyahu has not rejected this idea but has not shown enthusiasm.

A senior Palestinian official told Haaretz that the PA is waiting for a change in the council’s makeup to get the nine votes it needs.

He said that in a meeting this week in Cairo between Abbas and Kerry, no new American initiative for resuming talks with Israel had been submitted. He said that if such an initiative based on the 1967 borders were presented, the Palestinians would consider it.

Venezuela, New Zealand, Spain, Angola and Malaysia were elected Thursday to coveted seats on the United Nations Security Council, while Turkey failed in its effort to join the UN's most powerful body, replacing Argentina, Rwanda, South Korea, Australia and Luxembourg. The Palestinians are all but guaranteed two votes by permanent member states Russia and China.

Palestinian and Arab sources say heavy pressure is being put on them not to appeal at the Security Council, and the PA is concerned that funds raised at this week’s international conference on rebuilding Gaza will be used to get it to drop its efforts.

Abbas’ office, however, said the Palestinians were coordinating with Arab states in an attempt to obtain a majority for the motion. The Palestinians are not expected to appeal to the United Nations before the November 4 mid-term elections in the United States.

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