The Palestinian leadership pushed for statehood Monday, submitting an amended version of its U.N. draft resolution to become a sovereign state. The resolution, which is not supported by the U.S., Israel or Gaza-based Hamas, calls for a peace deal between the Palestinian leadership and Israel as well as terminating Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories by the end of 2017, Israeli media reported.
The amendments submitted Monday by the Palestinian Authority modified an existing resolution submitted by Jordan Dec. 17. That draft called for Palestinian statehood and for the city of Jerusalem to be the capital of an Israeli state and a Palestinian state. Monday's resolution submission, however, takes a harder stance. It asks for only East Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine and calls for an end to Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Haaretz reported. Nine Security Council votes are needed to adopt a resolution.
Arab leaders decided in November to support the Palestinian bid for statehood. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said at that time that he would submit a statehood bid at the U.N. Security Council and join international organizations and treaties if Israel did not respond to requests for resuming peace talks. Since then, U.S.-brokered peace talks have failed. Battles between Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza, have killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 66 Israeli soldiers.
U.S. State Department Press Office Director Jeff Rathke said Monday in a press briefing the U.S. does not support the draft resolution.
"This draft resolution is not something we would support," Rathke said. "We don't think it is constructive. We think it sets arbitrary deadlines. Further, we think the resolution fails to account for Israel's legitimate security needs. We don't believe this resolution advances the goals of a two-state solution." Rathke said that U.S. Secretarty of State John Kerry had been in touch with both Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu.
The WAFA news agency reported Monday that Abbas told Kerry he would press ahead with the resolution despite Israeli and U.S. opposition. Abbas also told senior leaders of his Fatah party that the vote on the resolution could be delayed until 2015.
“This process will take more than a day or two, and we must be clear with our people in order to avoid a state of confusion stemming from the numerous statements, which are sometimes contradictory,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told the Ma’an news agency. “These procedures are unrelated to the Palestinian position, but are routine U.N. procedures in such cases.”
Hamas, which is deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel, said Monday that the Palestinian leadership should withdraw its draft resolution from the Security Council.
"The draft resolution is unacceptable and aims to liquidate the Palestinian cause. It contains massive concessions," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement Sunday. "The resolution expresses the will of an influential group within the PLO and "does not reflect the national desire of our people."