Arab League foreign ministers endorsed on Saturday
a draft resolution setting a timeframe for the creation of a Palestinian state
and said they would formally present it to the United Nations Security Council
for a vote within days.
The ministers said in a statement after their
meeting that a follow-up committee including Jordan, an Arab member of the Security
Council, would begin to seek international backing for the resolution. Arab
League chief Nabil Al Araby said Jordan would present the draft to the Security
Council within days.
A proposed resolution on a Palestinian state is
unlikely to gain the support of veto-wielding council member the United States,
a key ally of Israel. It is not clear whether Washington would engage in formal
negotiations on such a document.
Speaking at the opening of the session in Cairo,
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel had left his people no option
but to turn directly to the international community.
"The current situation in the Palestinian
territories cannot continue," he said. "There is no longer a partner
for us in Israel and there is nothing for us but to internationalise the
Jordan circulated a draft UN Security Council
resolution to members early last month that calls for an end to Israeli
occupation by November 2016. Some diplomats have described the
Palestinian-drafted text as "unbalanced".
France, Britain and Germany are also drafting their
own resolution, diplomats said, which would set out parameters for trying to
end the conflict. They have not yet circulated a text to the 15-council
Abbas warned in his speech that his government
could limit contacts with Israel and suspend security coordination if the
resolution failed to pass at the Security Council, and that Israel would bear
responsibility for the consequences.
Abbas has previously described security
coordination with Israel as necessary and even "sacred".
Palestinians seek statehood in the Israeli-occupied
West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as their capital -
lands captured by Israel in a 1967 war.
Israel accepts the idea of a "two-state
solution" of an independent and democratic Palestinian state existing
alongside Israel, but has not accepted the 1967 borders as the basis for final
negotiations, citing security and other concerns.
The latest round of efforts to forge a two-state
solution collapsed in April and relations between the two sides have worsened
since a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip this
France said on Friday it would recognise a
Palestinian state if a final international effort to overcome the impasse between
Israelis and Palestinians failed.
French parliamentarians will hold a symbolic vote
with no immediate policy impact on December 2 on whether the French government
should recognise Palestine as a state, after similar moves in Sweden, Britain,
Ireland and Spain.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.