Buildings under construction in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba outside Hebron, July 6, 2016 (AFP PHOTO / HAZEM BADER)
The Palestinian Authority is reportedly planning to present the United Nations Security Council with a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction.
Quoting the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat, Israel’s Walla website reported Saturday that PA officials are currently consulting with several Arab states on the issue. The PA is considering timing the move for after the US presidential elections in November, but before the next president takes office. According to the report, this would free President Barack Obama from any political considerations, which could reduce the chances of an American veto of the draft.
The PA officials said, however, that some Arab and Western nations are pressuring the Palestinians to suspend the planned resolution, arguing that it would inevitably be vetoed by the US. This, the officials said, would leave the Palestinians with no diplomatic achievement, just soured relations with Washington.
The report came a day after the international Quartet of Middle East peacemakers — of which the UN is a member — warned that Israel’s settlement policy was harming the chances of a peace agreement with the Palestinians, and could lead to the demise of a two-state solution to the conflict.
“The Quartet emphasized its strong opposition to ongoing settlement activity, which is an obstacle to peace, and expressed its grave concern that the acceleration of settlement construction and expansion in Area C [parts of the West Bank under Israeli civil and security control] and East Jerusalem,” said a statement Friday from the Quartet, which comprises the US, European Union, Russia and UN.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, US Secretary of State John Kerry and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini issued the statement after meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The statement singled out “the retroactive ‘legalization’ of existing [settlement] units, and the continued high rate of demolitions of Palestinian structures,” which it said is “steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution.”
From left: EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pose for photographers before a meeting of the Middle East Quartet at UN headquarters in New York on Sept. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
The Quartet also urged both sides to show restraint in the face of a renewal of Palestinian attacks against Israelis, and called on the PA to halt incitement to violence.
The group said it “condemned the recent resurgence of violence and called on all sides to take all necessary steps to de-escalate tensions by exercising restraint, preventing incitement, refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric, and protecting the lives and property of all civilians.”