Jan 23, 2022

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The Palestinians are expected Wednesday to submit a draft resolution to the United Nations setting a two-year timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from lands they want for their own independent state. The US has indicated it would veto such a move if necessary.

“We will submit our project to the UN Security Council tomorrow,” a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told AFP late Tuesday.

The Times of Israel reported that the resolution would likely be submitted by Jordan. It is expected to demand a full Israeli withdrawal to the country’s pre-1967 lines by 2016. The US opposes the move primarily because of the deadline, and expressed concern it seeks to determine the conclusion of negotiations before they are completed. The US prefers to avoid using its veto, but is prepared to do so if necessary.

A second version of the draft has reportedly been in the works by France. However, according to Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of Abbas’s inner circle, the French have “accommodated” the Palestinians and merged the two documents.

“We have merged. We don’t have two texts now. There is one single text. We have happily accepted the French text when the modifications have been added,” Shtayyeh said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US has no set vision of a resolution it would be willing to support in the UN.

“What we’re trying to do is have a constructive conversation with everybody to find the best way to go forward,” Kerry said. “We want to find the most constructive way of doing something that… will not have unintended consequences, but also can stem the violence.”

According to Shtayyeh, who spoke to reporters in Beit Jala, the US “is avoiding [using its veto] by preventing us from collecting nine votes” needed to pass a resolution in the Security Council.

Meanwhile, Hamas has been removed from the European Union’s blacklist of terror organizations. A ruling on its appeal on Wednesday from the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg overturned a previous ruling designating Hamas as a terrorist group.

The appeal is based on a technicality, first utilized by Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers. The Court of Justice determined there was insufficient legal evidence on file against the group to keep it on the list, but gave the EU a timetable to collect more intelligence and re-present its case.

The Hamas ruling is similar. Israeli sources claim European countries, concerned about the potential change, are already collecting additional evidence against Hamas.

EU rules state that terror designations must be reviewed every six months. Fearing classified information used to support its case might fall into Hamas hands, the Europeans used only low-level, unclassified information to build its case.