The United States said on Monday it did not support a draft statehood resolution that the Palestinians plan to introduce at the United Nations, saying it would not advance the goal of peace or address Israel’s security needs.
“We don’t think this resolution is constructive,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told 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.
“Further, we think that the resolution fails to account for Israel’s legitimate security needs, and the satisfaction of those needs, of course, integral to a sustainable settlement.”
Arab U.N. delegations earlier discussed a Palestinian plan to make peace with Israel within a year and end Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by late 2017, despite Israeli and U.S. opposition.
Several Western council diplomats told Reuters they had been surprised by the Palestinians’ sudden push to submit over the next few days a final draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry he would press ahead, the official Palestinian WAFA news agency reported. Jordanian U.N. Ambassador Dina Kawar, the sole Arab representative on the council, told reporters Arab delegations would do what Palestinians wanted but indicated Jordan would prefer not to rush things.
“In my national capacity, we would have liked to have more consultation,” she said. Kawar previously said she would like a resolution that was backed by all 15 council members including the United States.
Several European countries have urged a less stringent timeline to win broader support. The United States wants to wait until after Israeli elections in March. Palestinian officials said the proposal calls for negotiations to be based on territorial lines that existed before Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war.
The Palestine Liberation Organization said the draft calls for resolving all major differences, known as “final-status issues,” within 12 months and ending the occupation by the end of 2017.
Israel, which pulled troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, has said its eastern border would be indefensible if it withdrew completely from the West Bank.
A Palestinian draft, submitted to the Security Council by Jordan on Dec. 17, had called for Jerusalem to be the shared capital of Israel and a Palestinian state.
The final proposal reverts to a harder line, saying only that East Jerusalem will be the capital of Palestine, the officials said. It also calls for an end to Israeli settlement building and releasing Palestinian prisoners.
Israel has said a Security Council vote, following the collapse in April of U.S.-brokered talks on Palestinian statehood, would deepen the conflict. It supports negotiations but rejects third-party timelines.
Nine Security Council votes are needed to adopt a resolution, which would then force the United States, Israel’s closest ally, to decide whether to veto it. Washington would be expected to vote against it, diplomats say.