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Middle East Palestine to push UN for statehood vote

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Palestinian officials have said they will press ahead with a bid for statehood at the UN, despite a warning that the US would block the move, officials in Ramallah said.

“We will submit our project to the UN Security Council tomorrow [Wednesday],” a senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the AFP news agency late on Tuesday.

The draft resolution would call for a withdrawal of Israeli troops from occupied Palestinian territory within two years and a return to negotiations with a view to achieving a two-state solution by which Israel and a Palestinian state would co-exist.

Jordan will submit the resolution on behalf of the Palestinians since Palestine is an observer to the UN and not a full member state. Only member states can present a resolution to the Security Council.

“The only people who can bring a resolution to the council are the 15 members, and that’s why certain countries, namely Jordan, are key,” Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from New York, said.

France is putting together a more nuanced version of a draft to the Security Council setting a two-year timetable for concluding a peace treaty, without mentioning an Israeli withdrawal.

Palestinians officials meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry at talks in London, said they would go ahead as planned, receiving a sharp warning from Kerry that the US would veto the resolution, another Palestinian official said.

A State Department official made no mention of whether Kerry had threatened the Palestinians.

The US, Israel’s closest ally, has consistently used its UN veto power to block moves it sees as anti-Israel.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat reportedly told Washington, should it use its veto, the Palestinians would then apply to join a series of international organisations.

They include the International Criminal Court, another move opposed by the US, which fears the Palestinians will seek to try Israeli officials for alleged war crimes.

Call for caution

Kerry had earlier called for caution, saying nothing should be allowed to “interfere” with preparations for snap elections in Israel in March.

Speaking to reporters just before he met Erakat, the top US diplomat said it was “imperative” to help lower tensions.

“We have to carefully calibrate any steps that are taken for this difficult moment in the region,” Kerry said.

Asked what kind of resolution Washington might be able to support at the UN, Kerry insisted the US administration has “made no determinations … about language, approaches, specific resolutions, any of that”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned late on Monday after meeting Kerry for almost three hours in Rome that his country would oppose any resolution that would harm his country.

“Attempts of the Palestinians and of several European countries to force conditions on Israel will only lead to a deterioration in the regional situation and will endanger Israel,” he said in a statement.

“Therefore, we will strongly oppose this.”

Several European parliaments have called on their governments to move ahead with the recognition of a Palestinian state. Al Jazeera

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