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18 Oct, 2014 10:06

Palestine wants UN vote on 2016 deadline for Israeli troop pullout

Palestine wants UN vote on 2016 deadline for Israeli troop pullout

The Palestinian government is seeking a UN Security Council vote on a resolution in the next two months that would set a deadline – November 2016 – for the IDF to withdraw from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Riyad Mansour, UN ambassador of the Palestine Territories, a non-member observer in the organization, said on Friday the proposed resolution was seen as a way out of the constantly failing US-brokered negotiations with Israel, considering the terms of an independent Palestinian state.

The Palestinians will not go back "to the same kind of negotiations that have led us nowhere for more than 20 years," he said, according to AP. The last round of the talks, dropped in April after nine months, had brought no agreement on the ground rules.

Mansour added that the imminent defeat of the resolution wouldn’t mean a dead end for the state: "This is not going to be an open-ended exercise." He added: "The main option is to go with a vote."

And the resolution, in fact, has very strong opposition, which includes Israel and its closest ally, the US.

On Thursday, Palestinian officials said they have seven votes in support – in the 15-member Security Council, where for an approval any resolution needs not only a nine-vote minimum, but also no vetoes from the five permanent members, the US among them.

Samantha Power, US Ambassador, said earlier this month the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through negotiations between the two parties.

Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor said that by promoting the resolution the Palestinians were "bypassing negotiations by taking unilateral action" and "avoiding a real dialogue."

Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour (Reuters / Lucas Jackson)

Mansour said the Palestinians are committed to voting on the resolution and "the centerpiece of our resolution is the time frame."

In case the resolution fails in the UN Security Council, Mansour said the Palestinians may also try their luck with the General Assembly, a UN organ where all 193 members are represented. There are no vetoes for resolutions, although, they are not legally binding.

The Palestinian Ambassador says another way out is to “create legal facts on the ground that we exist as a state” by joining additional treaties and conventions and the International Criminal Court (ICC), which would further "acknowledge that a Palestinian state does exist."

The UN General Assembly voted to grant Palestine non-member observer status in October 2012, and it gained the right to become a member in UN institutions, treaty bodies, and to address the ICC over Israeli settlement-building on occupied land.

In 2014, Palestine joined 15 international treaties and conventions.

Before becoming a UN observer state, Palestine joined UNESCO, the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural agency. This step was followed by the US ending all funding of the organization.

US policy makes Palestine’s membership in the United Nations unattainable, as it can veto the Security Council’s recommendation to enter the organization. For other UN agencies, where the US has no right to veto, it has a special law that bans support, should Palestine get membership.