'Abbas working on deal with EU, US to avoid statehood bid'

'Al Hayat' report says that 4 of 20 paragraphs in proposal already agreed upon; first paragraph calls for 6 months of negotiations with Israel; Tony Blair active in attempt to bring the two sides together.

September 16, 2011 15:05
3 minute read.
US ME envoy David Hale meets PA's Abbas

Hale and Abbas 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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London based Arabic daily Al Hayat on Friday reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was meeting with European Union and American officials to try and come to an agreement that would avoid bringing Palestinian unilateral statehood before the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council next week.

According to the report, of the 20 paragraphs in the proposal, four of them had been agreed upon at the time of publication.

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The first paragraph calls for a renewal of negotiations with Israel for a minimum of six months, followed by an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, the report said.

The next paragraph, upon which there is agreement, calls for Israel to stop implementing unilateral actions regarding settlements, in exchange for Palestinians fulfilling their security obligations.

Later on in the proposal is a provision by which the United Nations General Assembly would invite Abbas to give a speech in which he declares his commitment to the United Nations' principles.

Further stipulations call on the General Assembly to receive reports from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund regarding how officials may effectively govern a Palestinian state once it is established.

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Among the paragraphs that have yet to be agreed upon are references to a declaration of independence made in 1988, rulings by the International Criminal Court on the status of the West Bank and the security barrier, and a confirmation of the right of the Palestinians to self-determination, the report said.

The Al Hayat report comes after Quartet envoy Tony Blair presented a proposal to Israel and the Palestinians this week that would immediately keep the Palestinian Authority from taking a statehood recognition resolution to a vote at the UN, enabling the sides to continue working with the international community on a formula that would enable a return to negotiations.

The Jerusalem Post has learned that under this proposal, the Palestinians would deposit their draft resolution with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who himself would bring it to the General Assembly by the end of the current session that runs until December 28 if negotiations are not renewed.

Blair has been at the center of intensive diplomatic efforts in recent days to keep the Palestinians from going to the UN. One diplomatic official said the idea behind the proposal, which has been brought to both sides, was to “buy more time” and come to an agreement on parameters that could form the basis for negotiations.

Blair has in recent days been shuttling back and forth between the two sides, but it was not immediately clear whether either Israel or the Palestinians would accept the proposal.

His proposal comes even as the Palestinians announced on Thursday that they will take their statehood recognition bid to the Security Council, even though US President Barack Obama has said the US would veto the resolution.

It was also far from certain that even if the proposal was accepted, that the two sides would be able to use the additional time to do something they haven’t succeeded in doing up to this point – agree on parameters for talks. Nevertheless, according to one diplomatic official, this could insert a positive dynamic into the stalemated diplomatic process and give Abbas a graceful way to backtrack from the UN move.

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