The Palestinians today are trying to play down Israel’s fear that, as soon as they are accepted as an observer state at the UN this week, they would start submitting lawsuits against Israel at the international criminal court at the Hague. But, according to Israel’s Channel 2 News, they have warned that going to the Hague would remain an option.
The PA’s UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour reiterated that, despite repeated pleas from Israel and the U.S., the Palestinians have every intention this week of carrying out their initiative to request from the 193-member general assembly to upgrade the Palestinian Authority’s status from “observer entity” to “observer state.”
The current draft of the proposal to be submitted by the Palestinian at the UN on Thursday, “the UN will decide whether to award Palestine the status of an observer state at the United Nations, without infringing on any accompanying rights regarding the Authority’s role as the representative of the Palestinian nation based on previous, relevant decisions.” The proposal further clarifies that it is intended “to enhance the right of the Palestinian nation to self determination as a Palestinian state in the territories that were occupied in 1967.”
Jerusalem and Washington continue to argue that the Palestinian move is wrong, but both have already acceded to their anticipated defeat at the general assembly. The French announcement yesterday that they would vote in favor of the upgrading, was followed by announcements from Denmark, Norway, Spain and Switzerland, all supporting President Abbas, as will Great Britain. Italy and Australia are expected to abstain. The U.S., Canada, Guatemala and Micronesia—never forget Micronesia—will reject the proposal.
Germany’s position is not yet clear. Now, that’s a relief.
The truly troublesome part of the proposal is not so much the new status, which still stops short of real statehood, but with the fact that the full assembly will embrace its depiction of the urgent need to renew the negotiations as part of the peace process in the Middle East, to reach a resolution of the essential issues – the refugees, the status of Jerusalem, the settlements, the borders, security and water.
Channel 2 commented that at this stage in the draft, prisoner release is not one of those essential issues.
Mahmoud Abbas has arrived in New York and the game is on. Israel’s immediate response to his move will likely be to freeze the taxes Israel collects on behalf of the PA and to take from that money the $200 million plus the PA owes the Israeli electric company.
It’s a start.