State Dept: Palestinian U.N. statehood resolution is not constructive

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — A draft Palestinian statehood resolution set to be introduced at the United Nations is counterproductive, the U.S. State Department said.

“We don’t think this resolution is constructive,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters Monday at a regular news briefing. “We think it sets arbitrary deadlines for reaching a peace agreement and for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank, and those are more likely to curtail useful negotiations than to bring them to a successful conclusion.”

Rathke added that the resolution “fails to account for Israel’s legitimate security needs, and the satisfaction of those needs, of course, is integral to a sustainable settlement.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday that the Palestinians would take the initiative to the U.N. Security Council on Monday, despite U.S. opposition, according to the official Palestinian WAFA news agency.

“Today the Arab group will meet in New York, and we will submit the original draft resolution to the Security Council hoping to conclude the vote by tomorrow or the day after,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat told Reuters on Monday.

The resolution reportedly calls for a Dec. 31, 2017 deadline for an Israeli withdrawal to “borders based on 1967 lines” with land swaps. It also calls for the resumption of negotiations on all final-status issues by no later than 12 months after the adoption of the statehood resolution.

Under the proposal, eastern Jerusalem would be the capital of Palestine and Israel must halt settlement building, Reuters reported. Earlier drafts had called for Palestine and Israel to share Jerusalem as the capital.

The resolution was to be introduced Monday by Jordan, according to the Palestinians. The vote could come as early as Tuesday. It is not known whether there are enough votes in the Security Council to pass the resolution, which the United States likely will veto.