Palestinian Authority want Russia, EU to counter US peace plan

Palestinian Authority want Russia, EU to counter US peace plan
The Palestinian Authority's UN envoy has said that the EU, Russia and the UN should act to ensure a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
3 min read
Palestine's UN envoy said action must be taken to save a two-state solution [Getty]
The Palestinian UN ambassador said on Tuesday that the EU, Russia and the UN should act to save a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if the long-awaited US peace plan doesn't lead to two independent nations.

Riyad Mansour told reporters that these key parties need to take practical actions that would prevent a US plan that excludes the possibility of an independent Palestinian state.

"We have a global consensus with us" supporting a two-state solution, he said, adding that if the Trump administration plan runs against that consensus, then there should be "practical steps" by supporters of Palestinian independence not to allow that plan to be imposed.

President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, a key player in drafting the plan, has been tight-lipped about its contents, saying last week that the blueprint, which has been two years in the making, attempts to ensure security for Israel and provide economic opportunity to improve the lives of Palestinians.

The plan won't be released before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ends during the first week of June, and perhaps not even then.

The Palestinians have pre-emptively rejected any peace proposal floated by the Trump administration amid concerns it would fall far below their hopes for an independent state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem - which they want as their capital - and Gaza, lands captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

Their demand for a two-state solution is supported by the UN and almost all of its 193 member-states.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ruled out the United States as a broker for peace with Israel in a speech to the Security Council in February 2018 and called for an international peace conference by mid-2018 with the key goals of full UN membership for the state of Palestine and a timeframe for a two-state solution. That deadline was missed.

Mansour said he told EU officials and members during a visit to Brussels last month that support for a two-state solution is welcome "but that is not sufficient - they have to act on it".

He said the EU could call an international conference "to see how we can open ways to move forward" based on the "global consensus".

The EU could also help save the two-state solution by having all members - including France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg - recognise the state of Palestine, he said.

As for Russia and China, Mansour said, Russia already has authorisation, including in a Security Council resolution, to host an international conference in Moscow.

He added that the Palestinians are talking with Russia on why it doesn't call for an international conference.

Mansour said another option is for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Russia or the EU to call for a meeting of the so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators: the UN, US, EU and Russia.

The Quartet "at least is a collective process and not only one party... trying to decide how we move forward", he said, and it can move things forward based on past agreed positions.

Mansour said the Palestinians appreciate the two international conferences hosted by France, "but they did not build on it and continue it" - and also Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to host a summit between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which Netanyahu rejected twice.

So far, Mansour said, the Palestinians haven't seen any results from its initiatives.