A masked Palestinian protester looks on during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the near-by Jewish settlement of Qadomem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Arab League foreign ministers decided on Tuesday to back a Palestinian resolution at the UN Security Council to call for setting a timeline for ending Israeli “occupation.”
The decision came following the recent Arab summit at Sharm e-Sheikh, which entrusted the Arab League to find the appropriate means to help the Palestinians achieve their “national rights.”
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told reporters after a meeting of the ministers in Cairo on Tuesday that agreement was reached to launch contacts with international parties to boost the Palestinian bid at the Security Council.
He said that the Arab ministers asked a team of experts to start working on preparing a plan to assist the Palestinians in their effort to seek a resolution calling for establishing a timeline concerning an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.
“The optimum means by which the goal of ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories can be realized, in light of regional and international efforts aimed at securing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, were discussed during the meeting,” Shoukry added.
On Monday, Palestinian envoy to the UN Riad Mansour said that the Palestinians are “ready and willing” to see if the Security Council has the political will to endorse a resolution that sets a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
He said that the adoption of the proposed resolution would be “one of the most effective measures to combat extremism in our region, because extremists receive their fuel from the injustice of the Palestinian people.
If there is a just solution to this conflict, then you’ll take away from the main source of recruitment and mobilization.”
The key is in the hands of the US, Mansour said.
France has already said that it is turning to the Security Council on this issue, particularly in the light of the absence of a peace process.
Just last Friday, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said, “As [Foreign Minister] Laurent Fabius stated in New York, we intend to open, in the coming weeks, a discussion so that the parameters of a definitive settlement of the conflict can be endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. This is a key element of a strategy aiming at restarting negotiations on a credible basis.”
The spokesman added that Fabius has “underlined the fact that these efforts must be set within a renewed framework, with Arab and European actors being more involved. We intend to work with our partners in that perspective.”
The Security Council rejected a similar initiative in December.
Eight of its 15 members voted in favor of the resolution, which was one vote short of the necessary nine votes needed for approval of the resolution.
Two countries, the US and Australia, voted against it; and five countries – the UK, Lithuania, Nigeria, Korea, and Rwanda – abstained.
But since then the UNSC membership has changed and Australia, Korea, and Rwanda no longer have seats on the council. Presumably, the new member states are more favorable toward the idea of such a resolution.
In December the US stated its opposition to the resolution and promised to use its veto power at the council to ensure that it would not pass.
The US and Israel have consistently said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is best solved through negotiations and that UN resolutions circumvent that process and harm those efforts.
But the US said it may reconsider its position at the UNSC in light of pre-election comments Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made in which he said that in the current reality, a Palestinian state won’t be created in the West Bank during his premiership