(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday called on the UN Security Council to issue a resolution that condemns West Bank settlements and provides Palestinians with international protection from Israel.
The “basic condition for achieving peace lies in the Palestinians being restored their lands on the 1967 borders,” Abbas said in a radio interview.
He spoke the morning after a council debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at which a number of member states said they would like to see such a resolution, particularly on the settlement issue.
After the meeting, PLO Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said it is clear that the 15 UNSC member states oppose Israeli settlement activity.
“If you have this unanimous illegal position, than what is required from the Security Council is to take steps to remove this major obstacle,” he said.
But, he added, it is still unclear whether the UNSC has the will to translate its condemnation of settlement activity into a resolution against it that calls for concrete action.
He did not specifically mention the United States, which is one of five member states with veto power. In the past, the US has threatened to veto or has vetoed such resolutions.
There is a precedent for the UNSC calling for international protection. It did so in 1994 with a resolution that led to the establishment of the International Temporary Presence in Hebron.
But the issue of protection doesn’t necessary have to go through the UNSC, he said.
The General Assembly also has the power to do so. It approved the first peace-keeping force in the region, which was funded by the Secretary- General’s Office, Mansour said.
In 1956, when the United Kingdom and France blocked the UN Security Council from taking action in the Suez Canal, the General Assembly sent peace keepers there, known as the UN Emergency Force. It was withdrawn only in 1967.
“All these elements are under study and evaluation by our leadership as we are fine-tuning the final elements of [our] strategy for 2016 in the international arena,” Mansour said.
The Palestinians, Abbas said, want to resume the peace and reach peace with Israel, “but only on condition that it implements 20 agreements that were signed since the Oslo Accords.”
Abbas said that another condition is the release of the fourth group of prisoners incarcerated before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. The prisoners were supposed to be released in 2014 in accordance with understandings reached between the PA and Israel under the auspices of US Secretary of State John Kerry.
“The current Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which includes seven settlers, does not want peace or the implementation of signed agreements with the Palestinians,” Abbas charged. “There is a conviction that the Israeli government won’t halt settlement construction. They have more than half a million settlers in the Palestinian territories.”
Abbas reiterated his support for countries that fight terrorism.
He expressed fear that the policies of the Israeli government “would lead to the entry of Daesh [ISIS] into the heart of Israel.”