New Zealand moves forward with UN peace talks resolution

New Zealand is moving forward with a draft UN resolution aimed at reviving Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace talks despite objection from Israel, AFP reported on Thursday night.

The resolution, which calls for a freeze on Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria and halts moves to prosecute Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC), was circulated to the 15 Security Council members, as well as Israel and the Palestinians, diplomats told the news agency Thursday.

The draft resolution calls on Israelis and the Palestinians to end the violence, prepare for peace talks and declares the two-state solution to be the "only credible pathway to peace", according to the text seen by AFP.

The 10-point measure calls on both sides to refrain from action that could undermine the peace effort "including continued expansion of settlements and demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied territories."

It also demands a halt to "referring a situation concerning Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories to the International Criminal Court" after the Palestinians joined the ICC this year.

New Zealand presented the resolution despite Israel informing its ambassador that it rejects the idea.

According to Channel 2, Ambassador Jonathan Curr was summoned by Israeli government officials to listen to their displeasure over his country's plans.

National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen reportedly clarified to Curr in blunt terms that any diplomatic effort to force negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) would not be countenanced by Israel.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully told the Security Council last week of his plan to present a draft resolution that he said could help "stimulate a level of debate" on the crisis.

New Zealand's initiative came after France circulated a draft for a council statement that failed to win agreement, highlighting difficulties to forge a consensus in the council.

The Security Council has not adopted a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process since 2009 and its last formal statement dates back to September 17 when it called for calm at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

There has been pressure on Israel and the PA to resume the stalled talks in recent months. Earlier this week, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urged Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas to meet Quartet representatives "within days" in the hope of kick-starting the stalled talks.

"I have asked both Netanyahu and Abbas to receive the Quartet envoys in the coming days, not weeks," Mogherini said, stressing the need for speed if an upsurge in violence between Israelis and Palestinians is not to spiral out of control.

The Quartet comprises the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia and was set up in 2002 to promote what is known as the Middle East Peace Process.


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