The Palestinian Authority (PA) is working on passing a draft UN resolution condemning Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria, Haaretz revealed on Thursday.
The PA has circulated a copy of the draft to a number of members of the UN Security Council, according to Western diplomats and senior Palestinian officials who spoke to the newspaper.
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas would like to bring the resolution to a vote during his visit to UN Headquarters in New York in about two weeks, the report said.
The move to condemn Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria has been moving ahead low profile since the beginning of this year. The Palestinians have held consultations over the past few months with a number of Security Council members, such as France, Spain and Egypt, to gage the extent of support. A senior Palestinian official told Haaretz Abbas will be arriving in New York on April 22, Passover eve, to be present personally for the planned vote.
According to the newspaper, the official reason for Abbas coming to New York is to take part in a UN conference on the climate, but the PA wants to take advantage of Abbas’ presence at the UN Headquarters to promote the vote on the resolution.
Abbas will make a round of diplomatic visits to Paris, Berlin and Moscow to garner support for the Palestinian move before arriving in New York.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the PA move on Thursday night, saying, "Abu Mazen is taking a step that will push negotiations further away. The only way to advance peace is by direct negotiations and Abu Mazen is avoiding this.”
“The Palestinians educate their children on a daily basis that the settlements are Tel Aviv, Haifa and Acre," added Netanyahu.
The move marks the latest effort by the PA to embarrass Israel and have it condemned in international institutions.
In 2014, the PA submitted a resolution to the UN which called for Israel to “end the occupation” – that is, to withdraw from Judea and Samaria – by 2017.
The draft resolution would have set a 12-month deadline for wrapping up negotiations on a final settlement and the end of 2017 as the time frame for completing an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
The resolution was put to a vote in the UN Security Council late last year, but failed to secure enough votes in favor to pass. Abbas later said he would go to the UN again and try to have a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria imposed on Israel.
Diplomats from two Western countries who are Security Council members confirmed to Haaretz on Thursday that the Palestinians had distributed the draft. They said the resolution was relatively moderate and resembled a similar resolution presented in February 2011 and which was vetoed by the United States.
The draft states that the “settlements” are an obstacle to peace and Israel must cease construction. One of the Western diplomats said that one of the only innovations in the text this time was the addition of a paragraph condemning “settler violence” against Palestinians.
According to a senior PA official, talks are underway over the past few days with Arab countries, especially Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to move the draft resolution forward, as well as with Security Council members.
The foreign ministers of the Arab League are to convene a special meeting on April 20 to discuss the final draft of the resolution. One of the Western diplomats said that some of the Arab countries were concerned over the draft resolution and have warned the Palestinians not to promote it. However, the Palestinian leadership is determined to move ahead, and has even pressured Egypt, which represents the Arab countries on the Security Council, to push hard for it.