PLO to ask UNSC for meeting on settlements
Palestinians working to pass a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity; protests against talks with Israel continue.
PALESTINIAN SECURITY forces clash with protesters Photo: Reuters
RAMALLAH – The PLO will begin working with UN member states on Monday to bring a
resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity before the Security
Because the PLO does not represent a member state at the UN, it
must work through other countries to pass resolutions.
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s diplomatic adviser Majdi Khaldi said the
consultation with international bodies will start Monday and will incorporate
different groups within the Security Council – such as the Arabic group, as well
as permanent members.
“Our demand is backed by the international
community; we don’t need a grand diplomatic effort,” Khaldi said.
added that the PA has not prepared a proposal yet “these are technical issues
that will be consulted upon.”
PLO Ambassador to the UN Riad Mansour will
carry out the bid.
The PLO decided to turn to the Security Council at an
urgent Ramallah meeting on Saturday, which discussed Israeli settlement activity
and Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
Yasser Abed Rabbo,
secretary-general of the PLO’s Executive Committee, read the committee’s
statement after the meeting – with Abbas’s participation.
“The rise in
settlement activities in Jerusalem, the confiscation of land and the
displacement of citizens from their homes are proof of a dangerous Israeli
government plan to undermine the twostate solution, and siege Jerusalem from the
rest of the Palestinian lands,” Abed Rabbo said, adding that the present
situation on the ground confirms they are entering a very critical phase in the
Palestinian national project.
“We’ve complained to the UN Security
Council earlier, but Israel has continued its settlement construction ever since
– even when the PA is showing goodwill to continue the talks,” Khaldi
Palestinians believe settlement activity jeopardizes the two-state
“We are afraid that there won’t be enough land [for us] to live
in as two states side by side in peace. We’re doing this both for the
Palestinians’ sake and for Israel’s,” he said.
The direct talks between
the two sides broke down in September 2010, after Palestinians declared they
would only negotiate with Israel if it froze settlement activity. Israel said it
wants to resume peace talks without preconditions.
Khaldi said that only
a full settlement freeze would halt a Security Council bid.
2011, a resolution cosponsored by over 120 of the UN member states – condemning
all Israeli settlements established in occupied Palestinian territory since 1967
and declaring them illegal – failed to pass after the US vetoed it.
other 14 of the 15 members of the council voted in favor of the resolution which
demanded that Israel, as an occupying power, immediately and completely cease
all settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territory, including east
Jerusalem, and fully respect its legal obligations in this regard.
the US agreed at that time that settlements are illegitimate, it said the
resolution harmed the peace talks.
Some observers think the PA is not
using a different path to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
is the easiest option for the PA,” said Hani Masri, head of the Ramallah-based
Palestinian center for policy research Masarat.
Masri told The Jerusalem
Post that Abbas is ideologically committed to the negotiations path. “All the
other alternatives he’s talking about are just tactics to strengthen his
position in future negotiations,” he said.
The political analyst thinks
the PA is trying to win more time and betting on US President Barak Obama’s
“It [PA] thinks that Obama in the second term will put more
pressure on Israel... I highly suspect that [it is not true],” he
Masri thinks the PA might find itself in confrontation with its
people if it stays an authority under occupation without sovereignty. “There
isn’t a serious bet on the results of those negotiations, this threatens the
credibility of the PA, and might lead to a political suicide,” he
Some observers believe the PLO’s settlement bid came after the
popular uproar of a planned meeting between Abbas and Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz
(Kadima) that had been scheduled for Sunday.
“The meeting has been
postponed indefinitely,” a senior Fatah official told the Post. Under the
condition of anonymity, he said that the popular pressure against the visit,
which has targeted Abbas, was part of the reason why the meeting was
He also said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s stand on
the visit did not allow for it to occur. The Fatah official revealed that the
meeting could have taken place if something would come out of it, such as the
release of some pre-Oslo detainees.
“Abbas won’t jeopardize his name and
lose his street credibility to no avail, and Netanyahu wants Abbas to meet with
him and not Mofaz,” he confided.
Palestinians on Saturday protested
Mofaz’s planned visit and protested again on Sunday despite its cancellation.
Over the weekend, Facebook and Twitter pages were filled with postings rejecting
Mofaz’s proposed visit to Ramallah. They also called the previous defense
minister, from the era of late president Yasser Arafat’s siege in the Mukataa, a
Some activists even filed a complaint to the Palestinian
attorney-general against Mofaz for being responsible for what they described as
war crimes. They posted figures on social media websites including that more
than 1,705 Palestinians were killed, 5,312 were detained and the West Bank
security barrier was built at the time of Mofaz’s defense leadership.
campaign also reached Abbas, as some university Fatah leaders felt that
receiving a military official who took part in the second intifada was a
betrayal to the blood of Palestinian martyrs.
A caricature pictured both
the Palestinian and Israeli flags side by side on Arafat’s mausoleum near the
Mukataa in Ramallah, saying “What will Arafat do in his grave?” One Palestinian
activist commented on the caricature, “Arafat will shiver in his tomb; Mofaz
will brag that he came back as a welcomed guest.”
The news of the event’s
cancellation did not relax the numerous Palestinian activists who demonstrated
on Saturday and Sunday at the Manara Square, a few hundred meters away from the
The activists clashed with Palestinian security forces when they
tried to march on the headquarters of the PA. The riot police and plainclothes
agents blocked the demonstration from moving forward.
chanting slogans against the negotiation process and Mofaz’s visit. Another sign
read, “How about we invite Israel to commemorate Nakba with us?” A dozen
protesters were injured on the past two days as a result of the aggressive PA
crackdown and were taken to the hospital. Several journalists were hit as
“On Saturday, we protested the visit, and on Sunday we did the same
but we also protested the crackdown on us,” an activist spoke on the condition
of anonymity to the Post.
About 300 protesters gathered on Sunday holding
signs that criticized the Palestinian police assault on its people. It was a
relatively large gathering compared to recent ones against negotiations or those
in solidarity with Palestinian hunger-strikers.
Some demonstrators cursed
the police and its chief officer, which increased tensions.
Palestinian Security Forces spokesman Adnan Dmairi said they are investigating
“alleged” Palestinian police attacks.
Speaking to the Shasha News
website, Dmairi said that the official authorities did not know of the rally.
Later, he said that the demonstration was not supposed to march towards the
From the Ramallah demonstration, an activist
from Jerusalem tweeted, “Remember the interview when Abbas said if two people go
down the street chanting against me I will leave? Can someone call him out on
Others disagreed. An activist told the Post via phone from the Ramallah
governmental health complex that some of her colleagues were injured and denied
that they wanted to end the regime.
“We are Palestinians who want to end
occupation, and we want the leadership to listen to our demands by ending the
security coordination [with Israel], ending the fruitless negotiation path and
achieving Palestinian unity,” she said.
Protests will continue over the
next few days.