PA to Request Declaration from UN Security Council

Monday, 17 January 2011 15:45 Tania Kepler for the Alternative Information Center (AIC)

Following an influx of Israeli building plans approved for East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority plans to ask the United Nations Security Council to declare Israeli settlements illegal and demand that all construction be stopped.


Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, says the request is likely to be submitted by Wednesday, 19 January.

The Palestinian Authority and Israeli government spent months in failed peace talks with the United States that resulted in nothing more than a settlement construction boom upon completion.

Erekat told Ma’an News that, “The Israelis are responsible for the collapse of the peace process, not only at the Israeli-Palestinian level, but they are also responsible for the repercussions of that collapse in the whole region because the policy they chose leads to chaos, extremism and bloodshed.”

According to Erekat the Palestinians fear that the United States, a firm and faithful supporter of Israel and a member of the Security Council, will veto a proposed halt to settlement construction.

“The Americans don’t want anything to be submitted to the Security Council, but we insist that we consider the Security Council our path toward international legitimacy,” he said.

“We don’t want the draft resolution to be vetoed by the US,” Erekat added.

According to the chief negotiator, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, was scheduled to consult all UN groups in order to determine when to submit the draft resolution, which has already been worded.

“In case the US vetoes the resolution, we know that at least we have tried and used all available means. We will not abstain from doing what we can do just because we think this side or another will oppose it,” Erekat added.

The Jerusalem Municipality in particular has been hard at work approving requests for local construction across the Green Line. This week the municipality’s Local Planning Committee is expected to announce approval for the construction of 1,400 new housing units in East Jerusalem’s Gilo colony, in addition to the construction approved for 130 new housing units in the East Jerusalem settlement neighborhood in November 2010.

Last week the Jerusalem Municipality demolished part of the historic Shepherd Hotel in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in order to make way for a new right-wing religious settlement complex including 20 housing units, a three-story parking structure and an access road on the site.

Following the end of the settlement freeze in the fall of 2010, some were speculating that the Palestinian Authority might ask the United Nations Security Council to proclaim the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, along the pre-1967 borders, and set a timetable for implementation.

While this seems unlikely at present, the Palestinian state has been gaining further recognition. Guyana became the most recent of a string of South American states to recognize a Palestinian state, on Thursday 13 January.

A statement from the country’s foreign ministry says Guyana hopes increasing recognition worldwide will “contribute to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the creation of lasting peace and stability in the region.”

PA to Request Declaration from UN Security Council.

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