Doomed Palestinian UN gambit a domestic propaganda ploy, Israeli official says

If the Palestinians force a vote before January 1, knowing they will not get the nine votes needed, then it is clear that they are interested in a defeat in order to avoid a US veto.

December 30, 2014 21:45
2 minute read.

Palestinians walk near an opening in Israel's controversial barrier in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of A-tur. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Palestinian decision to take an uncompromising resolution to the UN Security Council that has no chance of passing indicates that this is more of a propaganda stunt aimed for the domestic audience than an attempt to move the diplomatic process forward, Israeli diplomatic officials said Tuesday.

The officials said that it was clear that the resolution that the Palestinians will introduce to the UN Security Council, and which may come to a vote before the Security Council changes composition on January 1, will be vetoed by the US.

Efforts over the last few weeks to merge the Palestinians resolution with a more moderate French proposal failed, and the draft introduced this week was tougher even than the draft submitted by the Palestinians on December 17.

One diplomatic official said that what was clear is that the Palestinians do not have the nine votes necessary in the current Security Council for the measure to pass, something which would necessitate a US veto.

The Palestinians would have a much better chance of gaining the nine votes needed if they waited until Thursday, because then the composition of the Security Council will change, and two countries which can be counted on to vote against Israel on any measure – Venezuela and Malaysia – will join the world body.

If the Palestinians force a vote before January 1, knowing they will not get the nine votes needed, then it is clear that they are interested in a defeat in order to avoid a US veto, one official said. The official said that forcing a US veto – something that would put Washington in an uncomfortable situation internationally – would then complicate the Palestinians' relationship with the US, especially with the incoming Republican dominated Congress.

The failure to muster nine votes in favor of the resolution would mitigate against the need for a US veto and a disruption to US-Palestinian ties. But bringing the resolution to the vote is something Palestinian Authority Presdient Mahmoud Abbas wanted because of his sense that this is something that would play well on the Palestinian street in his competition with Hamas, the official said.

The revised resolution called for a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, not a “shared capital;” emphasized that all settlements are illegal, including construction in east Jerusalem; made a clear reference to UN resolution 194 regarding the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees; referenced the International Court of of Justice's 2004 Advisory Opinion against the security fence; and mentioned a “just settlement” for Palestinian prisoners.

The resolution called for a “just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution that brings an end to the Israeli occupation since 1967” based on on the June 4, 1967 lines with “mutually agreed, limited, equivalent land swaps” within a year. It then called for a full and phased withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces, which will end the occupation that began in 1967 over an agreed transition period in a reasonable time-frame, not to exceed the end of 2017.”

Reuters contributed to this report

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