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Palestinians push to submit UN draft resolution

AFP

Jordan is calling for a vote of the Security Council on Tuesday evening on a Palestinian-backed resolution ordering an end to Israel's occupation within three years. Israel and the USA strongly opposed the text.

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The draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, affirms the urgent need to achieve "a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution" to the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict within 12 months and sets a December 31, 2017 deadline for Israel's occupation to end.

It calls for an independent state of Palestine to be established within the June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and security arrangements "including through a third-party presence." It demands "a just solution'' to all other outstanding issues including Palestinian refugees, prisoners in Israeli jails and water.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 5pm in New York (2200 GMT), at which time the body should proceed to vote on the measure, according to Jordanian UN Ambassador Dina Kawar.

However, Palestinian UN observer Riyad Mansour said the vote could take place on Wednesday morning if it does not happen on Tuesday.

Several Western council diplomats told Reuters they had been surprised by the Palestinians' sudden push to submit a final draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council.

Earlier, Jordan's Kawar said the Jordanians and Palestinians would consult immediately on "the best time to cast the vote in the Security Council."

When asked if the vote could be delayed until next year, she said, "Everything is possible."

Kawar previously said she would like a resolution that was backed by all 15 council members, including the United States.

US says draft text fails to address Israeli security needs

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Monday that if the Security Council doesn't reject the resolution, "we will.''

A US State Department spokesman said the Palestinian draft resolution was not constructive and failed to address Israel's security needs.

US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters the new draft resolution "is not something that we would support, and other countries share the same concerns that we have".

"We don't think this resolution is constructive," Rathke said. "We don't believe this resolution...advances the goal of a two-state solution."

Nine Security Council votes are needed to adopt a resolution, which would then force the United States, Israel's closest ally, to decide whether to veto it.

However some diplomats believe the resolution is unlikely to get nine votes under the current makeup of the council, a scenario that would allow the US to avoid using its veto power.

Israel has said a Security Council vote, following the collapse in April of US-brokered talks on Palestinian statehood, would deepen the conflict. It supports negotiations but rejects third-party timelines.

Several European countries have urged a less stringent timeline to win broader support. Washington wants to wait until after the Israeli elections in March.

The text of the Palestinian draft resolution calls for negotiations to be based on territorial lines that existed before Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war.

It also calls for resolving all major differences, known as "final-status issues," within 12 months, ending the occupation by the end of 2017, and establishing a "third-party presence" to help oversee Israel's withdrawal and guarantee Palestinian sovereignty.

Israel, which pulled troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, has said its eastern border would be indefensible if it withdrew completely from the West Bank.

An earlier Palestinian draft called for Jerusalem to be the shared capital of Israel and a Palestinian state.

The final proposal reverts to a harder line, saying only that East Jerusalem will be Palestine's capital and calling for an end to Israeli settlement building and releasing Palestinian prisoners.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)

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