by Lahav Harkov, Omri Nahmias
Specific condemnation of US removed from resolution draft as Palestinians try to bring more countries on board.
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Danny Danon speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council at UN headquarters in New York, February 20, 2018
(photo credit: LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS)
Israelis at the UN are in the midst of a “diplomatic blitz” ahead of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Tuesday speech and a possible vote on a draft resolution condemning the US peace plan and settlement annexation.
The US intended to veto the resolution, while other countries considered abstaining from the vote as of Monday morning.
Tunisia and Indonesia, the countries that submitted the draft, softened the wording such that it does not say that the UN Security Council “strongly regrets that the plan presented…by the United States and Israel breaches international law.”
Rather, the new draft leaves out the US and “notes that the initiative…in relation with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict departs from the internationally endorsed terms of reference and parameters for the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to this conflict as enshrined in the relevant United Nations resolutions.”
It still says that “annexation of any part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem constitutes a breach of international law.”
In addition, the new version of the draft resolution says it is “condemning all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction.”
The draft also calls for “the intensification and acceleration of international and regional efforts to launch credible negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians on final-status issues.
For the US, this is a step in the right direction, but they still plan to veto the resolution unless more drastic changes are made.
According to both Israeli and American sources, other countries are considering abstaining, such that the vote is unlikely to come down to 14 countries in favor against the US veto.
The EU is leaning towards an abstention, because it wants to avoid antagonizing the US, and could only vote in favor of a resolution that is closer to past texts and is an opening for future negotiations, encouraging the Palestinians to return to the table.
The EU tends to vote as a bloc in the UN, and its member states in the Security Council are France, Belgium and Germany. Belgium has recently come under criticism from Jerusalem for inviting NGOs with ties to Palestinian terrorists to the UNSC, but the EU policy of unanimity on UN votes could take precedence in this case.
If fewer than nine countries support bringing the resolution to a vote, then the vote could be canceled, and sources have said that at least two non-EU states were considering abstentions. Together with the US, that would cancel the vote.
Lahav Harkov, Omri Nahmias
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