Exasperated Abbas pushes UN end-of-occupation bid

AP News
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Posted: Nov 29, 2014 10:04 AM

CAIRO (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday he is moving ahead with a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution on setting a November 2016 deadline to end the Israeli occupation.

Abbas told Arab League foreign ministers that he had put off such a step repeatedly in response to requests from Washington, but: "We can't wait any longer."

"The status quo is not sustainable any longer, especially at a time when the Israeli government is continuing its attacks, its settlements, demolishing houses, confiscating lands and imposing facts on the ground," he said

Abbas said he will now begin consultations on the draft resolution, but did not mention a timetable.

"This is a basic issue, this is a very important issue, and the Arab League agrees with it," said Arab League Chief Nabil Elaraby, adding that it is "natural" that Palestine is heading to the Security Council now. Arab League foreign ministers unanimously supported the plan to advance the issue to the Security Council and conduct consultations with member states.

The resolution is likely to fail, either because it falls short of the needed votes or because the U.S. will veto it.

The Palestinian bid appears largely symbolic and aimed at generating political leverage.

The last round of U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in April. Since then, Israel fought a 50-day war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and advanced plans to build hundreds of new homes in Jewish areas of east Jerusalem.

Elaraby also condemned a controversial proposed law that would define Israel as "the Jewish state," saying it shows the "extent of Israel's racism against the Palestinian people."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu has described it as a needed response to those who question Israel's right to exist.

Abbas warned that the Palestinians could take other steps if the Security Council rejects the resolution, including joining the International Criminal Court.

He also asked Arab League countries to aide his government with a "safety net" of $100 million per month.