The Palestinian Authority plans to submit a draft resolution on ending the Israeli occupation to the United Nations Security Council either late Sunday night or Monday, and will seek a vote on it as early as this Wednesday, senior Palestinian officials said Sunday night.
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In interviews with the Palestinian media Sunday evening, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the resolution would be submitted later that night or Monday, and that he himself planned to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sometime in the next two days, probably after Kerry’s meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Monday. But he didn’t say when the Palestinians would seek to bring the resolution to vote.
Later Sunday night, however, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team clarified that Palestinians want the Security Council to vote on the resolution on Wednesday, the day after a planned meeting between Kerry and Arab foreign ministers in London.
But another senior member of the negotiating team noted that even if the draft resolution is submitted in the next few days, the vote won’t necessarily happen immediately. He said Palestinians are still open to negotiating over the resolution, primarily with the Europeans, as reported by Haaretz earlier on Sunday. Erekat, in his interview with Voice of Palestine Radio, also said the PA is still talking with the Europeans.
Netanyahu, responding to the Palestinian decision, on Monday said that "Israel will not accept attempts to dictate unilateral moves." Before boarding a plane to Rome at Ben-Gurion International Airport for his meeting with Kerry, Netanyahu told reporters that "there are attempts to dictate terms that would harm Israel's security and won't bring about peace."
"We will fend off any such attempt that would only bring terrorism into the heart of the state. Even if there will be [attempts to] dictate, we will stand firm," he said.
The Palestinian draft calls for recognizing a Palestinian state in the 1967 lines and setting a two-year deadline for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank.
Senior officials in Ramallah said the timetable for the Palestinians’ planned diplomatic moves will be determined by developments overseas, primarily in Europe. Of particular importance is an upcoming debate and vote in the European Parliament on recognizing a Palestinian state and a conference of all signatories to the Geneva Conventions that Switzerland has called for December 17.
“The Palestinian moves aren’t being conducted in accordance with the Israeli or American timetable, but in accordance with the interests of the Palestinian people,” one official said.
The official said he thought the PA leadership would be careful not to do anything to “break the rules” at a time when the Palestinian issue is gathering steam overseas, especially in major European countries. But at the same time, he said, the Palestinians want to make it clear that they’re no longer willing to accept proposals that drag negotiations out indefinitely and don’t include a clear international commitment to end the occupation.
Earlier on Sunday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas convened the PA leadership to discuss its planned diplomatic steps in the coming months, including the Security Council resolution.
Speaking at the start of the meeting, Abbas that in addition to longstanding plans like the Security Council resolution, the Palestinians are now planning a new diplomatic move: They intend to ask the UN secretary general to set up an investigative committee to look into the circumstances of the death of PA Minister Ziad Abu Ein following a clash with Israeli border policemen at a demonstration last week. Israel has said the autopsy shows he died of a heart attack, but the Palestinians say the autopsy shows his death was caused by rough treatment at the border policemen’s hands.
Abbas also discussed the slow pace of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip following the summer’s war between Hamas and Israel, a fact he blamed on both a failure by donor states to transfer the funds they promised and disagreements with Hamas. The latter, he said, isn’t helping the Palestinian unity government to carry out the necessary work in Gaza.