The United States has threatened to veto a United Nations Security Council
resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity, the Palestinian Authority’s
political adviser, Nimer Hammad, said on Saturday.
The PA is working on
the final text of such a resolution, which it hopes the Security Council will
approve at its January 19 monthly meeting on the Mideast.
It is lobbying
for the resolution, even though, according to Hammad, the US administration has
warned the PA leadership against taking the issue of the settlements to the
“The Americans don’t want us to take the issue to the
Security Council,” said Hammad, who is PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s political
“They say that discussing this issue in the Security Council
would prompt the US to veto it. They want the issue to remain under their
auspices,” said Hammad.
The US administration has, on the other hand,
refused to publicly state that the settlements are illegal, Hammad
“When we ask the Americans if they could issue a statement publicly
outlining what they always tell us – that the settlements are illegal and that
they support a geographically contiguous and viable state – they say that they
are unable to do so.”
Hammad said that despite the PA’s disappointment
with Washington, “We don’t want our problem to be with the US, but with Israel
and its aggressive policy and the pro-Israel lobby in the US.”
that the present US administration began with a “policy of cooperation with the
world and distancing itself from the policies of the former administration,
which turned many against the US. Let’s see what their position will be in the
UN Security Council when it’s expected to vote on the settlements.”
Palestinians won’t accept any agreement that does not include a Palestinian
state in the pre-1967 borders, Hammad said.
construction is not only a Palestinian demand, but also an international one,”
The US has voiced opposition to settlement building, but it
also opposes the proposed resolution on the grounds that it will not move both
sides closer to a twostate solution. It has thrown its support behind direct
negotiations as the best way to solve the problem.
The Palestinians, for
their part, have refused to negotiate with Israel unless it halts construction
in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem.
As a conciliatory gesture,
Israel halted new West Bank construction for 10 months, but has otherwise
refused to heed the Palestinian demands, insisting that negotiations be held
Fledgling talks were held in September, but they
broke down almost immediately when the moratorium on new settlement construction
expired on September 26.
In hopes of finding a way to break the impasse,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed last week with White House senior
adviser Dennis Ross that his special envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, would travel to
Washington this week. A Palestinian adviser is also expected to head to
But the Palestinians are continuing to pursue a UN
condemnation of settlements at the same time, because the US has not been able
to halt settlement construction.
Abbas said last week in Brazil that the
Palestinian draft used language similar to that used by US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton, who has criticized settlements, “so we don’t see why the US
would veto it.”
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian representative to the UN
in New York, where the PA has observer status, told the Associated Press on
Friday that representatives of key Arab, Islamic and Palestinian groups have
been discussing the timing and strategy to win Security Council approval for the
resolution and have been meeting with ambassadors from the 15 council
The resolution’s supporters are hoping “to convince the United
States that there is value to this... that they be on board,” he
The draft resolution is expected to condemn Israeli settlements as
illegal and to call on Israel to halt its activity there.
It is expected
that the draft resolution will support direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations
and the resolution of all final-status issues by September 2011, as called for
by the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers – the US, the UN, the European Union and
Russia. It also urges intensified international and regional diplomatic efforts
“to support and accelerate the peace process.”
The Palestinians are
seeking a UN resolution against settlements because the United States has failed
to convince the Israelis to halt construction, the top Palestinian diplomat at
the United Nations said Friday.
Mansour declared that all countries
except Israel support an immediate end to settlement-building, saying: It’s “191
countries versus one, Israel.”
He said the Palestinians believe a
Security Council resolution could create enough “critical pressure to bring
Israel into compliance with this global consensus and therefore to stop all
their settlement activities.”
Karean Peretz, spokeswoman for Israel’s UN
mission, stressed Thursday that “the only road to peace” is through direct
She accused the Palestinians of repeatedly bypassing direct
talks during the past year, which “only move us further away from returning to
the negotiation table and reaching a two-state solution.
demonstrated time and time again its commitment to peace, and we hope that the
international community won’t allow these moves to divert both sides from
reaching the real goal – peace and stability in our region,” Peretz
Israeli officials added that past one-sided UN resolutions had done
nothing to assist the Palestinians. Its leadership has to decide if it is
interested in empty declarations or meaningful progress, an Israeli official
AP contributed to this report.