Netanyahu and Abbas.
(photo credit: LOIC VENANCE / AFP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a sharp response late Thursday night to reports that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to push forward a UN Security resolution later this month condemning the settlements.
"Abu Mazen [Abbas] is taking a step that will push negotiations further away,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The only way to advance peace is by direct negotiations and Abu Mazen is avoiding this. The Palestinians educate their children on a daily basis that the settlements are Tel Aviv, Haifa and Acre."
The move seemed to catch Jerusalem by surprise, as the focus of concern about activities at the UN has been centered on whether the French would bring a resolution on the Mideast peace process to the Security Council, and whether the US would veto it.
There has also been concern that US President Barack Obama, in the waning days of his tenure, might bring a proposal to the Security Council setting down his own parameters for a resolution.
According to Haaretz
, the PA circulated a draft resolution this week to a number of Security Council members condemning settlement construction, and Abbas would like to bring the resolution to a vote when he visits the UN on April 22 to take part in a conference on climate.
The US vetoed an anti-settlement resolution at the UN in 2011, and the question – if this resolution comes to a vote – will be whether US President Barack Obama would do so this time as well.
That veto was the only one cast by the US during Obama's tenure.
reported that the Arab League is to hold a special meeting on the matter on April 20, and that - according to a western diplomat - some Arab countries expressed concern about the resolution, and have warned the Palestinians not to go ahead.