UN Security Council to Discuss Trump's Mideast Plan

The Palestinians withdrew their proposed resolution condemning Trump's plan, which was set to be voted upon during the session, claiming it has yet to be finalized

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The UN Security Council holds a meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, New York City, November 20, 2019
The UN Security Council holds a meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, New York City, November 20, 2019Credit: Mary Altaffer,AP

The United Nations Security Council will discuss U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan on Tuesday, but without voting on a Palestinian draft resolution to condemn it despite initial reports.

AFP reported that the Palestinian Authority withdrew its proposed resolution because of lack of support among council members. But the Palestinians denied this, saying they didn’t submit their resolution because its wording has yet to be finalized.

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In an unusual move, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will open the Security Council’s session. He will be followed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, and ambassadors from other council members.

The original draft resolution, co-sponsored by Tunisia and Indonesia and backed by the Palestinians, said the U.S. plan violates international law and Security Council demands for a two-state solution based on borders drawn before the 1967 war.

The resolution had been expected to be put to a vote on Tuesday when Abbas addressed the council. But diplomats said many of its provisions were not acceptable to European members of the council, who support a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders, and other council members.

Secretary General of the PLO’s executive committee Saeb Erekat said Monday evening that reports of the Palestinian resolution being withdrawn are false. He added that the Palestinians will submit it as soon as they have finalized wording and are sure its principles will be supported.

“The U.S. is applying very heavy pressure on member states, including states that identify with the Palestinian position,” a senior official in the Palestinians’ UN delegation told Haaretz. “There’s a difficult fight going on in the UN’s corridors.”

According to the report by the French news agency, the Palestinians abstained from presenting their resolution after the U.S. unexpectedly submitted amendments to Trump's plan to omit references to the 1967 lines.

Last week, Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said the resolution would be submitted to the council by Tunisia, the Arab states’ current representative on the panel.

“We’re embarking on a major diplomatic battle and are aware that the U.S. will work to thwart the resolution or veto it,” he told Radio Ashams, which broadcasts from Nazareth. “But that won’t deter us. We’ll continue to work through every diplomatic channel to thwart [Trump’s] plan.”

He added that the Palestinians seek “to highlight the Palestinian position, which is based on the international community’s decisions.”

Palestinian factions in the West Bank, including Fatah, have announced that they intend to march in Ramallah, Gaza and refugee camps Tuesday morning, concurrently with the Security Council discussion. "We will all come out as a clear statement against Trump's malicious plan," they said.

Trump's plan, the product of three years effort by senior adviser Jared Kushner, would recognize Israel's authority over the settlements and would require the Palestinians to meet a highly difficult series of conditions to be allowed to have a state, with its capital in a West Bank village east of Jerusalem.

The resolution stresses the need for an acceleration of international and regional efforts to launch "credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process without exception."

A U.S. veto at the council level would allow the Palestinians to take the draft text to the 193-member UN General Assembly, where a vote would publicly show how Trump's peace plan has been received internationally.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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