PLO has 3-step plan for two-state solution

Should UNSC bid fail, PLO plan would move into phase two, which involves signing international treaties, Palestinian source says.

Palestinians walk near an opening in Israel's controversial barrier in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of A-tur (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinians walk near an opening in Israel's controversial barrier in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of A-tur
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The PLO has a three-step plan for a two-state solution that involves a UN Security Council resolution, and if this fails, an appeal to the International Court of Justice and, as a last resort, ending security cooperation with Israel, Palestinian sources said on Thursday.
This week, it put the first phase of the plan into action by submitting a draft resolution to the Security Council that sets a deadline of November 2016 for Israel to withdraw to the pre-June 1967 lines. The resolution has yet to be made public, but portions of it have been leaked to the media.
Should the resolution pass, the PLO hopes to negotiate with Israel on all core issues, with the understanding that there would be a two-state solution within two years, one Palestinian source said.
PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Thursday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “is making it even clearer to everyone that he has no intentions to make peace. It is necessary for the members of the Security Council to take action by setting a deadline to end the Israeli occupation.”
He called on the United States to support the resolution.
The US has veto power in the 15-member UNSC body. In the past it has opposed Palestinian attempts to use the UNSC to advance a two-state solution, which it believes is best arrived at through negotiations.
“We ask the US administration to stand shoulder to shoulder with us,” Erekat said. “This is the only way to protect Palestinian national rights, save the two-state solution and promote regional peace and security,” he added.
In Washington on Wednesday, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said of the resolution, “We’ve seen the text and have not had an opportunity to study it yet, so I can’t comment on the specifics. As a rule, we don’t typically predict how we’ll vote on any given issue in advance.”
She added, however, that “we strongly believe that the preferred course of action is for the parties to reach an agreement on final status issues directly. And that’s something we’ve certainly communicated directly to the Palestinians as well.”
A Palestinian source explained to The Jerusalem Post that should the UNSC bid fail, the PLO plan would move into phase two, which would involve signing international treaties, including the Rome Statute. Acceptance of the Rome Statute could allow it bring Israel before the International Criminal Court, in hopes of forcing it to leave the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
As a last resort the PLO would consider dissolving its security arrangements with Israel, first set in place under the 1993 Oslo Accords, the source said.
An Israeli government official responded to the PLO threat by saying that while the security cooperation is important for Israel, it helps the Palestinian Authority as well.
“A mere few weeks ago, the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] uncovered a Hamas plot to carry out a coup d’etat against [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas,” he said.
“Who knows what would have happened had this not been uncovered. The security cooperation works both ways. It assists Israel but the PA as well.”
Israel in general has attacked Abbas and the PLO for turning to the UNSC, explaining that direct negotiations are the only way to achieve a solution by which the two states could live side by side in peace.
But at present, there is no initiative to bring the sides back to the negotiating table. The last US attempt to broker a peace deal ended in April without any tangible progress.
Erekat said he worries that a two-state solution is no longer possible, in light of Israel’s recent actions. He cited Netanyahu’s speech before the opening of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday and the Jerusalem Municipality’s issuance of final approval for a 2,610-unit housing project in Givat Hamatos, beyond the Green Line in southeastern Jerusalem.
“In his UN speech, Mr. Netanyahu closed all doors for a negotiated two-state solution by ignoring the 1967 borders and turning the conflict from political to religious, by demonizing Muslims and justifying the colonization of occupied land with religious arguments,” said Erekat.
“Later, when meeting at the White House, [US] President [Barack] Obama was adamant when requesting the Israeli side to stop settlement activities in accordance with its obligations,” Erekat insisted.
He said Israel is clearly defying the US with the Givat Hamatos project and other building projects in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Separate from any actions the PLO takes, Erekat called on the international community to condition its relationship with Israel on its obeying UN resolutions.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.