Abbas: PA Will Consider Cutting Security Coordination With Israel if UN Resolution Fails

Palestinian president says Israel 'entrenching apartheid;' Arab League foreign ministers agree to formally present a draft resolution to the UNSC.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Abbas with South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria last week.
Abbas with South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria last week.Credit: AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

The Palestinian Authority will seek membership of the International Criminal Court and reassess its security cooperation with Israel, if the United Nations Security Council does not adopt a Palestinian statehood resolution, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Arab League foreign ministers agreed on Saturday to formally present a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council that will set a timeframe for the creation of a Palestinian state.

The statement did not specify when the resolution would be presented but diplomatic sources have said Jordan, an Arab member in the Security Council, could present the draft within days.

Addressing a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo, Abbas said that the Palestinians were unable to continue waiting while "Israel creates facts on the ground through the continued building of settlements."

Therefore, if the UN resolution doesn't pass and negotiations don't resume on the basis of the 1967 borders and an end to the occupation, "we will seek Palestinian membership in international organizations, including the International Criminal Court in the Hague. We will also reassess our ties with Israel, including ending the security cooperation between us."

In his speech to the UN General Assembly in late September, 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.

According to Abbas, a return to negotiations would be possible of Israel was to agree to a full settlement freeze that included Jerusalem, to complete the fourth tranche of the prisoner release that accompanied the abortive negotiations earlier this year and to enter into negotiations that would begin with the determination of borders.

"We have given the Americans every possible opportunity and we have repeatedly postponed taking action until we turned into a laughing stock," Abbas said. "I myself have been accused of adopting a policy of 'patiently waiting.' Therefore, I ask you to support our resolution to the Security Council and to provide the PA with an economic safety net."

Rather than pursuing peace, the Israeli government was entrenching an apartheid regime, Abbas said. He listed Israeli actions, which he said "perpetuated apartheid": The building of 800 kilometers of "sterile" roads in the West Bank, the operation of busses for Jews only, the extension of Israeli law to settlements, the nation-state bill and the bill that would have Knesset members swear allegiance to the Jewish State of Israel, which he said destroys the possibility of there being any Arab representation in the Knesset.

"Israel wants a Gaza Strip that is cut off from the West Bank and a Palestinian Authority that pays salaries and ensures that the status quo remains intact," the president said. "That is something we cannot live with."

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