Palestinians on Saturday called for a “day of rage” this Friday to protest
against the US administration’s decision to veto a United Nations Security
Council resolution that would have condemned Israel for building in the
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Expressing outrage over Friday’s veto, the Palestinian
Authority threatened to reassess its position on the Middle East peace
Israel, in contrast, welcomed the veto and called on the
Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.
Friday’s “decision by
the US makes it clear that the only path to... peace will come through direct
negotiations and not through the decisions of international bodies.
are prepared to pursue those peace negotiations vigorously and are eager to get
on with the work of achieving a secure peace,” said the Prime Minister’s Office.
“We hope the Palestinians will join us in that effort as soon as
Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel until it
halts settlements activity and instead have pursued international recognition of
statehood and UN resolutions on the matter, such as the one it brought before
the Security Council on Friday.
As one of five permanent Security Council
members with veto power, the US was able to block the anti-settlement resolution
even though it had the support of the 14 other members, including Britain,
Germany and France.
The measure was submitted by Lebanon on behalf of the
Palestinians after intensive American diplomacy failed to keep it from being
Netanyahu’s office said after the vote that “Israel deeply
appreciates the decision by President [Barack] Obama to veto the Security
“Israel remains committed to pursuing comprehensive
peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. We seek a solution
that will reconcile the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for statehood with
Israel’s need for security and recognition,” the Prime Minister’s Office
The PA said it was now considering going to the UN General Assembly
with a request to issue a similar resolution condemning construction in the
settlements. Just two months ago, the assembly passed a resolution – which had
the approval of 159 out of 192 UN member states – calling on Israel to halt
settlement activity. Only six nations, including Israel and the US, opposed
In Ramallah, a senior PA official said that President Mahmoud Abbas
had come under heavy pressure from the US administration to withdraw the
resolution, but had refused to comply.
Abbas told a group of Palestinian
academics that he had held fast to his position and chosen to put the interests
of the Palestinians above all considerations.
He cautiously said that
Palestinian diplomacy scored a real victory after 14 members of the Security
Council voted in favor of the controversial resolution.
“We are not
seeking to boycott the US administration and it’s not in our interest to boycott
anyone,” Abbas stressed. “But we just want to protect the legitimate rights and
interests of our people in accordance with international law.”
phoned Abbas hours before the Security Council session and urged him to withdraw
the resolution, which was presented on behalf of the PA by a number of Arab
countries, the official said.
In response, Abbas called an emergency
meeting of the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee to
discuss what some officials described as Obama’s “threats.” The two committees
rejected Washington’s demand and gave the PA leadership a green light to go
ahead and bring the resolution for a vote to the Security Council. The
committees also called on the US to refrain from vetoing the resolution, saying the Palestinians would not succumb to
pressure from any party.
PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said
that in addition to Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and some EU
leaders had also attempted to persuade the PA to withdraw the resolution, but to
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said, “Even as the Middle East is
undergoing changes that carry historical meaning for the future of the whole
region, it is indeed peculiar that the Security Council should choose to
consider one single aspect out of the full range of core issues of the
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, while ignoring the wider scope of events in
The ministry added that it regretted that the other Security
Council members had not followed the US lead.
“It’s a short way between
Ramallah and Jerusalem, and all the Palestinians should do is to return to the
negotiating table without preconditions. Only thus, and not through seizing the
Security Council, will it be possible to advance the peace process,” said the
Hanna Amireh, a member of the PLO Executive Committee,
rejected such calls and said that the Palestinians were determined to pursue
their diplomatic efforts to hold Israel responsible for the failure of the peace
The PA leadership also organized street protests in support of its
position. Dozens of Fatah activists demonstrated in Ramallah, Kalkilya, Hebron
and Jenin and condemned the US for being “biased” in favor of Israel.
protesters hailed Abbas for resisting American pressure to withdraw the
resolution against the settlements.
Some Palestinians, including Tawfik
Tirawi, a former Fatah security commander, called for organizing the “day of
rage” against the US next Friday.
Tirawi said that the veto “exposed
America’s real face and the extent to which it is biased in favor of oppression
In response to reports that the US had threatened to cut
off financial aid to the PA if it insisted on presenting the resolution to the
Security Council, Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf said that the Palestinians “want
to get rid of occupation and are not only waiting to earn their
The US Administration should support the Palestinians and not
block freedom and independence, Assaf said. He added that Fatah was planning
more anti- US demonstrations in the West Bank in the coming days.
threats to cut off the aid show that that the Americans are ignorant of our
people’s moral and national values and aspirations,” read a statement issued by
Fatah the leadership.
“The US veto is a victory for occupation and
Fatah said that the veto harmed Washington’s status as a
major broker in the peace process and encourages Israel to continue building in
Hamas also condemned the US veto, saying it exposed
Washington’s bias in favor of Israel.
“The US veto is an award to the
occupation government for its violations against the Palestinians,” said Hamas
spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.