PA seeking UNSC resolution condemning Israel’s assertion of rights in Judea and Samaria

The Biden administration has reportedly proposed the release of a non-binding statement that Washington would support.

PLO envoy to the U.N. Riyad Mansour addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, April 25, 2022. Credit: Mark Garten/U.N. Photo.
PLO envoy to the U.N. Riyad Mansour addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, April 25, 2022. Credit: Mark Garten/U.N. Photo.

The Palestinian Authority is seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s decision this week to authorize nine outposts in Judea and Samaria in response to a deadly terrorist attack in Jerusalem, Axios reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Palestinian envoy to the U.N. Riyad Mansour sent a letter on Monday to the members of the Council calling on them to immediately send a clear message to Israel against asserting its rights in Judea and Samaria.

In response, the Biden administration is reportedly trying to convince the P.A. to forgo a vote on a formal resolution, instead proposing the release of a non-binding statement that Washington would support. In this way, the United States would not have to weigh using its veto in the forum.

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan and other officials are in talks with American counterparts to make sure the U.S. would indeed veto any potential resolution, said the report.

In a joint announcement Tuesday, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Italy, the British foreign secretary and the U.S. secretary of state stated that they were “deeply troubled” by Israel’s decision to advance “nearly 10,000 settlement units” and its intention “to begin a process to normalize nine outposts that were previously deemed illegal under Israeli law.”

“We strongly oppose these unilateral actions which will only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution,” they added.

The statement closely mirrored one that the U.S. State Department put out independently on Monday. Foggy Bottom’s announcement claimed its position was in line with prior Democrat and Republican administrations that “strongly oppose such unilateral measures, which exacerbate tensions and undermine the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution.”

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich vowed earlier Tuesday to promote unrestrained construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, despite opposition from the Biden administration.

“The real answer to [Palestinian] terror is to continue to build, to continue to set roots in the Land of Israel,” said Smotrich at a meeting of his Religious Zionism Party in Givat Harel, one of the nine outposts the Security Cabinet decided to legalize.

“The American response is entirely understandable,” he continued, but “the [Biden] administration knows that this government is committed to the settlements. There’s nothing wrong with two friends having disputes. They understand, and that’s the way things will continue.”

Smotrich, who also holds the post of minister in the Defense Ministry and has been tasked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with overseeing the Civil Administration, announced that he would soon advance plans to construct some additional 10,000 homes in Judea and Samaria.

On Sunday, Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas said that Ramallah would seek the passage this week of a United Nations resolution granting “Palestine” full membership at the international body.

Speaking at an Arab League summit in Cairo, Abbas emphasized that the Palestinians remain committed to confronting the “racist” and “extremist” Israeli government, which he claimed was “targeting Al-Aqsa Mosque and all our sanctities.”

“The battle raging over Jerusalem did not only begin on the day of its occupation in 1967, but several decades prior to that, and even before the Balfour Declaration which was issued by the colonial powers, led by Britain and America. The declaration was aimed at getting rid of the Jews in Europe and establishing the so-called Jewish national home in Palestine, to be an outpost to safeguard the interests of these colonial countries,” said the P.A. chief.

Meanwhile, the U.N. General Assembly in late December approved a resolution, at the behest of the P.A., calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on what it called Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

The ICJ announced on Wednesday a July 25 deadline for state bodies and organizations to submit documents pertaining to Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.

In response to the U.N. resolution, the Israeli Security Cabinet decided, among other measures, to withhold taxes and tariffs collected on behalf of the P.A., in an amount equal to that which Ramallah paid to terrorists and their families in 2022 under its “pay-for-slay” policy.

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