Palestinians: Israeli occupation must end in 2016
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas - AP

UNITED NATIONS : The Palestinians are asking the U.N. Security Council to set a deadline of November 2016 for an Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 including East Jerusalem.

The circulation of the draft resolution to council members follows Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s announcement to the U.N. General Assembly last Friday that he would ask the council to set a deadline for a pullout and dictate the ground rules for any talks with Israel.

The draft resolution, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, would affirm the Security Council’s determination to contribute to attaining a peaceful solution that ends the Israeli occupation “without delay” and fulfills the vision of two states, “an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine” living side by side with Israel in peace and security in borders based on those before the 1967 Mideast war.

The Palestinian quest for Security Council action is likely to face an uphill struggle in the U.N.’s most powerful body where the United States, Israel’s closest ally, has veto power and has used it to block many Palestinian-related resolutions.

U.S. U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, asked Tuesday about Abbas’s call for a deadline for Israeli withdrawal, said: “We strongly believe that the only way of a negotiated solution is through negotiations between the two parties.”

The resolution calls for intensified efforts, including through negotiations, to reach a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and “a just resolution” of the status of Jerusalem as the capital of two states and of the Palestinian refugee problem.”

The new Palestinian strategy to achieve an independent nation follows a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls the Gaza Strip, in which more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority civilians according to the U.N., along with 66 Israeli soldiers and six civilians.

The draft resolution calls on the parties to consolidate the Aug. 26 cease-fire agreement that ended the war and refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, especially with regard to East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their independent state.

It demands an end to all Israeli military operations and settlement activities, the opening of all border crossings in the Gaza Strip, and deployment of “an international presence” throughout the Palestinian territories to protect Palestinian civilians.

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