END OCCUPATION! – Resolution goes before Security Council

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THE PLO on Wednesday presented a draft UN resolution laying out terms for a final peace deal with Israel but sought to avoid a clash with the United States by saying they were open to negotiations on the text.

The draft resolution sets a 12-month deadline for wrapping up negotiations on a final settlement and the end of 2017 as the time frame for all Israeli occupation troops to have left the occupied territories.

The draft was presented to the UN Security Council by fellow Arab member Jordan, PLO envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters, thanking Arab and European nations for their help.

In a shift, Mansour indicated he would not press for a quick vote on the text to allow for more discussion, a move seen as opening the door to possible US engagement at the United Nations on the initiative.

‘We will continue negotiating with all of them and with the Americans if they are ready and willing so that we perhaps can succeed in having something adopted by the Security Council to open a serious door to peace,’ the envoy said.

The PLO had earlier said they wanted a quick vote but they backed away, apparently under pressure from Arab countries including Jordan, which is seeking a draft that will be acceptable to the United States.

Washington has repeatedly vetoed Security Council resolutions seen as undermining its close ally Israel.

The draft resolution calls for a ‘just, lasting and comprehensive peace solution that brings an end to the Israeli occupation’ and ‘fulfills the vision’ of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the shared capital.

The final settlement should be reached no later than 12 months after the adoption of the resolution, the text said.

The measure also provides for a phased Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories according to a time-frame ‘not to exceed the end of 2017’ – a provision that is likely to run into opposition from the United States.

The US administration opposes moves to bind negotiators’ hands through a UN resolution – particularly any attempt to set a deadline for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the Palestinian resolution would not present a problem if it can avoid exacerbating tensions in the region.

‘We don’t have any problem with them filing some resolution, providing it’s done in the spirit of working with people to see how we could proceed forward in a thoughtful way that solves the problem, doesn’t make it worse,’ Kerry told reporters.

The United States had refused to say whether it would veto the Palestinian draft, arguing that it had yet to examine the text.