PLO to Submit UN Resolution on Occupation by End-Oct

The PLO will submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council demanding the end of Israel’s occupation by the end of October, a senior official said on Thursday.

The PLO has been under intense pressure not to push forward with the resolution — including with alleged threats of cuts to US aid — but secretary general Yasser Abed Rabbo said a decision was taken late Wednesday to push ahead.

“The political council of the PLO decided during its meeting last night… to go to the UN Security Council with the aim of getting a resolution passed to end the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories… by the end of this month,” he said.

Voting could take place “two weeks or more after the request is presented,” Abed Rabbo told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “There is no excuse for a delay.”

Since the collapse of US-led peace talks with Israel in April, the PLO has been pursuing a new diplomatic path to independence via the United Nations and by joining international organizations.

The Palestinians won the status of UN observer state in 2012.

A draft of the resolution obtained by AFP earlier this month calls for the “full withdrawal of Israel, the occupying power, from all of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, as rapidly as possible and to be fully completed within a specified timeframe, not to exceed November 2016.”

An initiative in the Security Council is sure to meet opposition from the United States, which has repeatedly vetoed resolutions seen as undermining Israel.

Abed Rabbo said he hoped the draft would at least survive long enough to be debated by the 15-member council, even if its chances of being carried were slim.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday that a Palestinian diplomatic offensive would “undermine” peace efforts.

President Mahmoud Abbas said earlier this month that the Palestinians are risking $700 million a year in US aid by pursuing the resolution.

He warned the Palestinians could also seek to join the International Criminal Court, where they could sue Israeli officials over allegations of war crimes.

Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and Syrian Golan Heights in 1967.

Since the military occupation, Israel has built over 100 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem with a population of over 500,000 Jewish settlers.

(Agencies via Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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