Palestinian draft sets one year deadline for peace

Jordan formally submitted to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday a draft resolution calling for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and the end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, Reuters news agency reported.

The Palestinian-drafted resolution was formally submitted to the 15-member council, which means it could be put to a vote as soon as 24 hours later, but it does not guarantee it will happen.

It sets the end of 2017 as a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from war-won lands the Palestinians are seeking for a state. The deadline has been pushed back from that of November 2016 in the earlier draft.

The resolution also welcomes the idea of holding an international conference to launch negotiations on reaching a peace agreement.

The text also “calls upon both parties to abstain from any unilateral and illegal actions, including settlement activities that could undermine the viability of a two-state solution.”

Palestinian Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations  Riyad Mansour said that the Arab-backed resolution does not close the door on further negotiations on the issue, including with the United States, “if they are ready and willing.”

The U.S., as a permanent council member, has often  vetoed measures targeting Israel.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said the actual vote might be put off, suggesting a compromise is in the works to avoid a clash in the council.

Israel fiercely opposes any suggestions that the Security Council can set a framework for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which broke down again in the spring after the two sides couldn’t agree on  ground rules.

Diplomats say negotiations on the text could take days or weeks.

Jordan’s U.N. envoy Dina Kawar said she hoped the council could reach a unanimous decision on the resolution.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Obama administration is studying the EU’s court decision but the U.S. continues to consider Hamas as a terrorist organization.

The U.S. hasn’t said how it would respond to the Jordanian resolution, but Kerry took a hard line in meetings this week in Europe against any effort that could interfere with Israel’s elections in mid-March.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he had sought reassurances from Kerry that Washington would block efforts to adopt U.N. Security Council resolution.

Nine votes are needed to adopt a resolution, which would then force the United States, a close ally of Israel, to decide whether to veto it.

Hamas

Meanwhile, Canada urged the European Union to keep Hamas listed as a banned terrorist group, after an EU court ordered it removed from a blacklist.

“We are deeply concerned by the decision of the EU General Court to annul, on procedural grounds, the measures against Hamas,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement.

“We call on the EU to take the immediate remedial steps necessary to keep Hamas listed as a terrorist entity.”

The EU said the court’s ruling was based on a technicality and that it might appeal the decision.

Canada lists Hamas as a banned terrorist group.

By Al Arabiya

 

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