The United States refused to say on Thursday whether or not it would support a Palestinian Authority (PA) proposal for a United Nations resolution to condemn Israeli “settlement building” — but ruled nothing out.
"We understand that there is an early draft that the Palestinians have shared informally in New York," State Department spokesman John Kirby said, according to the AFP news agency.
"I'm not going to comment on an informal draft resolution. Nothing has been formally introduced or circulated at the Security Council," he added.
But, using terms that may raise concerns in Israel, Kirby continued, "We are very concerned about trends on the ground and we do have a sense of urgency about the two-state solution.
"We will consider all of our options for advancing our shared objective of lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians," Kirby said.
PA officials have in recent days been circulating a draft resolution that would deem Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria “illegal” and “an obstacle” to a peace deal based on two states living side by side within agreed borders.
It demands that Israel "immediately and completely" cease all “settlement activities.”
The UN Security Council failed to adopt a similar motion in 2011 after the United States deployed its veto.
PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said this week that the PA hopes that President Barack Obama, freed of re-election concerns, will break with American protocol this time and refrain from vetoing the latest resolution.
The Palestinian draft is still under discussion among Arab countries at the United Nations and it is not known when it will be presented to the full council.
But the world body is due to discuss the Middle East crisis on Monday and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas is due in New York next week to attend the signing of the UN climate deal.
The PA’s efforts to pass the resolution again move mark its latest attempt 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 resolution was put to a vote in the UN Security Council, but failed to secure enough votes in favor to pass.