Palestinians scrap request for UN vote on Trump Mideast 'peace plan'

Palestinians scrap request for UN vote on Trump Mideast 'peace plan'
Diplomats say the resolution was withdrawn due to US demands for significant amendments to the text.
3 min read
10 February, 2020
The draft resolution condemned plans for annexation as 'illegal' [Getty]
The Palestinian Authority has abandoned its request for a vote at the UN Security Council on rejecting US President Donald Trump's contentious peace plan, diplomats said on Monday.

Introduced by Indonesia and Tunisia, the resolution risked not having nine out of 15 votes in its favour, the minimum required for adoption provided there is no veto by a permanent member, the diplomats told AFP.

Revealed late last month, the so-called "Deal of the Century" proposes the Israeli annexation of large swathes of the occupied West Bank.

A draft text of the resolution released last week condemned those plans as "illegal". It also pushed for an acceleration of international and regional efforts to launch "credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process without exception".

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is set to take part on Tuesday in a Security Council session discussing the plan.

The sudden Palestinian withdrawal of their request came after the United States - which enjoys veto power as a permanent member - proposed a series of amendments that could come for a vote at the session attended by Abbas.

In proposals seen by AFP, the United States would significantly alter the text to remove references to 1967 lines being the basis of peace.

It would also cut out a line stating that Israeli settlements built in the West Bank since 1967 are illegal, a position taken by virtually every country except the US and Israel.

The United States is also seeking to eliminate language that would equate occupied East Jerusalem with the occupied West Bank.

"Discussions are continuing on the text," a diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Other diplomats cast doubt on whether a vote could take place at a later date, considering the wide divergences in positions.

Read more: UN's Guterres vows to back Palestinians on 'Deal of the Century' issue

Both Palestinian authorities and the public have rejected the plan, which would leave Palestinians with a series of disconnected and demilitarised territories across the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Negev desert over which Israel will retain security control.

They would also be denied a much hoped-for capital in Jerusalem proper.

The plan has also been rejected by the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initially sought to swiftly "apply Israeli law" - a by-word for de-facto annexation - to occupied territories earmarked under the plan ahead of Israel's national elections on March 2, but pushback from Washington has seen the premier back down.

The White House has specified that the move must be agreed under a joint US-Israeli mapping process set to take weeks.

Palestinians have not been consulted at any point in the process.

Conceptual maps of the plan released by the White House [Click to enlarge]

Agencies contributed to this report

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