Saeb Erekat to Haaretz: Palestinians Have Not Yet Delayed UN Bid

Chief negotiator's remark follows announcement by PA foreign minister that Palestinians have decided to postpone the UN motion.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Mahmoud Abbas at the UN General Assembly, September 26, 2014.
Mahmoud Abbas at the UN General Assembly, September 26, 2014.Credit: AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

The Palestinian Authority has not yet decided whether or not it will postpone a bid at the United Nations Security Council to achieve recognition as a state and set a timetable for ending the Israeli occupation.

That according to the authority's chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, who spoke to Haaretz following a report in Ma'an saying the Palestinian leadership would postpone the motion. Erekat added that, as it stands, the proposal is still due to be submitted as planned on November 29.

In an interview with the Palestinian news agency, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said the Palestinians had decided to delay the UN bid. He cited the negotiations between the world powers and Iran as the reason for the delay, but also admitted that the Palestinians have failed to secure nine out of 15 votes at the Security Council.

Malki also said Washington was vehemently opposed to the resolution, which was supposed to be submitted at the end of the month, and added that it could lead to economic sanctions against the Palestinian Authority.

Malki said, however, that the UN bid has not been shelved and negotiations with member states are ongoing.

"Unfortunately, the Iranian [issue] is at the top of the international community's agenda at this stage, not the Palestinian issue," he said, but stressed that Palestinians plan to submit the resolution even if a majority is not secured and in spite of a possible U.S. veto.

In his speech to the UN General Assembly in late September, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would ask the Security Council to set a deadline for ending Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. A week later, the Palestinians circulated a draft resolution calling for Israel to withdraw by November 2016 and for an international force to replace the Israeli army.

The Palestinians have warned that if the UN refuses to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from all Palestinian territories they would join the International Criminal Court and other international bodies.

On Monday afternoon, Malki issued a statement in which he denied that the Palestinians have made a decision to postpone their bid for statehood at the UN Security Council. In the statement, Malki says that talks are being held with representatives of the European members of the UN Security Council. At the top of this list is France.

Malki said the Palestinian proposal is still being prepared and once it is ready it will be brought to a vote in the Security Council, regardless of the results of the talks with the member states – talks that are supposed to end within ten days.

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