Fatah official Nabil Shaath (L) and Hamas deputy political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh..
The PLO will submit an application to the UN Security Council next month demanding a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, a senior Fatah official announced on Thursday.
Nabil Sha’ath, a former Palestinian Authority foreign minister and chief PLO negotiator, told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency that the Arab League would meet on September 5 to discuss how to support the Palestinian move.
The Palestinian application would be submitted to the Security Council on September 15, Sha’ath said.
If the request is turned down, the PLO will approach the International Criminal Court with a request to hold Israeli leaders accountable for war crimes during Operation Protective Edge, he warned.
“Taking the case to the ICC is conditional upon the Security Council response to our request,” Sha’ath said, adding that the issue is being discussed within Palestinian political circles.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas met secretly in Amman prior to the announcement of the cease-fire that began on Tuesday evening and ended 50 days of fighting between Israel and armed factions in the Gaza Strip.
The meeting of senior Israeli and Palestinian officials that is believed to have included Netanyahu and Abbas took place a few days before the cease-fire began, the paper quoted diplomatic sources as saying.
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office would neither confirm nor deny the report.
At a press conference on Wednesday evening, Netanyahu – asked whether he viewed Abbas as a partner – said the Palestinian leader “needs to choose what side he is on.” He said he hoped Abbas would continue to want a diplomatic process with Israel and an eventual agreement. Those comments came after the supposed meeting in Jordan.
Last weekend, Abbas announced that he was planning a “diplomatic and political surprise” that would make the US unhappy.
Informed sources in Ramallah said that Abbas’s surprise included asking the Security Council to set a timetable for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Abbas said he would present his initiative to US Secretary of State John Kerry during their meeting early next month. He expressed hope that the Arab countries would support his plan, which he termed an “unconventional solution.”
With the Palestinians again planning a push at the UN, discussions were under way inside the Prime Minister’s Office regarding whether Netanyahu will travel to the annual General Assembly session in New York at the end of September.
If he does travel, which based on the experience of recent years is very likely, it is expected that he will meet with US President Barack Obama.
On Thursday, Netanyahu met with an eight-person congressional delegation from the House Armed Services Committee, including its chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-California).
The prime minister told the bipartisan delegation that Israel and the US are faced with common enemies, “radical Islamic terrorists who have absolutely no inhibitions on executing people, terrorizing people and targeting innocent civilians.”
Just as Islamic State conducts “mass executions,” so too does Hamas in Gaza, Netanyahu said. In addition, he said, “We’ve just had a branch of al-Qaida right on the Golan Heights kidnap dozens of UN peacekeepers. These are common enemies of Israel, the United States and all the civilized countries.”
McKeon thanked Netanyahu for “standing up to these enemies of mankind, people that have no value of human life, that want to rule the world however they can do it.”
He said Israel set an example for the world of “how you’ve been able to defend your people with the least possible loss of human life.
“When ISIS [Islamic State] goes in, kills people indiscriminately, lines them up, just kills them cold-blooded, and you go out of your way to avoid death but still to protect your people,” the congressman said.
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