For the first time since the United Nations granted the Palestinian Authority the so-called non-member observer status in November 2012 the PA leadership suffered defeat at the UN Security Council (UNSC).
This happened last week, after Tunisia, Indonesia and South Africa wanted to bring a resolution dealing with the Palestinian rejection of US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace and prosperity in a future Palestinian state to a vote in the Council.
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas vowed to reject the plan “a thousand times” and was sure he would muster enough support for the Palestinian resolution in the UNSC to achieve his goal of launching a diplomatic Intifada against Trump’s plan.
Abbas knew the US and most likely also the United Kingdom would veto the resolution after which he intended to bring the same resolution to a vote in the General Assembly of the UN where the PA has an automatic majority.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s envoy for the peace process and the main architect of Trump’s peace vision intervened, however, and apparently succeeded to convince enough member states of the 15-countries-strong Security Council to oppose the Palestinian draft resolution.
Kushner requested a closed-door meeting with the members of the UNSC in which he explained the parameters of Trump’s plan that envisions a demilitarized Palestinian state in Israel’s ancestral homeland Judea and Samaria (West Bank) in another 4 years after the PA meets certain conditions that would ensure Israel’s security and its own democracy.
The US envoy blamed PA leader Abbas for the recent wave of terror that hit Israel after the revelation of Trump’s plan at the White House at the end of January.
“He calls for days of rage in response and he said that even before he saw the plan,” Kushner told the UNSC referring to Abbas out-of-hand rejection of the new American plan that according to the PA would create a “Swiss cheese” Palestinian state.
The peace plan would leave “Palestine fragmented. It will end all basis for a peace plan,” Abbas told the UNSC while asking the members of the Council if they “would accept a similar state.”
His bid to muster enough support for the anti-Israeli and anti-American resolution failed miserably, however.
Even after softening the language of the resolution the PA failed to get nine members of the UNSC supporting the plan a pre-requisite to bring the resolution to the General Assembly of the UN.
Israel’s ambassador at the UN, Danny Danon attacked Abbas for launching “political terrorism” after the Palestinian leader claimed he was against the use of violence and terror in the current campaign against Trump’s plan that would allow Israel to introduce Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valey and the so-called settlements in the C-area of the West Bank.
“If President Abbas was serious about negotiating, he wouldn’t be here in New York, he would be in Jerusalem. Complaining instead of leading, that is Abbas’ way,” Danon said in his speech while adding that Abbas can’t be a partner in the peace process.
A leader who chooses rejectionism, incitement, and glorification of terror can never be a real partner for peace,” the Israeli UN ambassador said.
Abbas claimed the situation in the PA-controlled territories could “implode” any moment and begged the UNSC not to take “hope away” from the Palestinian people.
The PA now wants to make another effort to bring the resolution to a vote in the UNSC but chances are slim it will get the support of nine countries.
Saeb Erekat, the Secretary-General of the PLO and the jobless PA’s chief negotiator claimed that the draft resolution is still circulating in the UNSC after US ambassador Kelly Kraft said that Trump’s plan is up for negotiations.
“This is the beginning of negotiations and not the end, this is not an absolute plan,” according to Kraft.
A senior Trump official later commended the UNSC for thinking out of the box and not putting forward another “polarizing resolution”.
The UN body “demonstrated that the old way of doing things is over,” the official claimed.
” For the first time on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the council was willing to think outside the conventional box, and not reflexively fall back on the calcified Palestinian position, which has only allowed the failed status quo to continue,”the official said.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert delivered another blow to Abbas when he during a joint press conference with the PA leader refused to condemn the Trump Administration over the new peace plan.
Although Olmert claimed that in his view Abbas was the only Palestinian leader who could serve as Israel’s partner in a future peace process, he stopped short of rejecting Trump’s plan as Abbas expected.
Instead, he said that Trump’s plan allows for the implementation of the so-called Two-State Solution and that the plan could serve as a basis for further negotiations.
Abbas also had to deal with another disappointment when Tunisia fired its UN ambassador over signing and submitting the draft resolution.
The new government in Tunisia wants better ties with the US and is reportedly one of the Arab countries that strive for different and better relations with Israel.
The PA now wants to draft its own peace plan together with some peace-seeking countries according to Erekat who penned a new op-ed for the leftist Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.
Erekat called Trump’s plan “an ignorant, arrogant sham” that prepares the ground for “Apartheid” and was full of measures that run counter to international law. The PA official also accused Kushner of being Israel’s lawyer in its “annexation and colonization policies”.
“Our proposal includes the establishment of an umbrella group of a number of peace-loving countries to facilitate a meaningful peace process. A group that works to implement international law, rather than to facilitate an annexation process made to violate it,” Erekat wrote.
In reaction to the behavior of the PA leaders the Trump Administration decided to halt funding of the PA security forces for the first time in 27 years.
The move came as a poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that 94 percent of the Palestinian Arabs oppose Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ while a majority also favored the resumption of armed struggle against Israel.
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