Palestine presents peace plan to the UN Council, Israel calls it an act of aggression
by Joshua Lapide
The resolution calls for a peace treaty within a year and Israel's withdrawal from the Occupied Territories by 2017. The peace plan also provides for two states within the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as a shared capital, plus bilateral security guarantees. US-led talks in the last 20 years have proven useless. For Avigdor Lieberman, the UN should deal with more serious things, and not go for Palestinians' "gimmicks". Without a solution, despair could engulf Palestinians.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Late last night, the UN Security Council was presented with a resolution that proposes a peace plan between Palestine and Israel with a specific timetable.

The draft resolution calls for a "just, lasting and comprehensive peace solution that brings an end to the Israeli occupation" and "fulfils the vision" of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as a shared capital on the basis of the pre-5 June 1967 borders, guaranteed by bilateral security arrangements.

The final settlement should be reached no later than 12 months after the adoption of the resolution, the text said. The measure also provides for a phased Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories according to a timeframe "not to exceed the end of 2017".

Riyad Mansour, Palestinian ambassador to the UN, said his country was open to continuing negotiations. The Palestinians had earlier said they wanted a quick vote but they backed away, apparently under pressure from Arab countries including Jordan, which is seeking a draft that will be acceptable to the United States, and prevent it from exercising its veto.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said that the resolution submitted by Jordan was a French-sponsored version of the draft, not the one originally one, inked by the Palestinians and the Arab League, which had a one-year and not a two-year ceiling for pull-out.

After 20 years of US-sponsored talks, Paris, he said, "believes [that] a ceiling to end negotiations and end the occupation is the best process now, because direct negotiations have proven to be futile."

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reacted saying that the draft was an act of aggression, and that it would not advance the cause of a permanent agreement.

"The UN Security Council should concern itself with the real important issues," Lieberman said, "like the welfare of the citizens of the world, how to deal with the murderous terrorist acts such as those that occurred in Australia and Pakistan this week, or deliberate what has been happening in Syria and Libya, instead of wasting its time with the Palestinians' gimmicks."

Conversely, Palestinian activists point out that without the prospect of a Palestinian state, people will be overwhelmed by despair, which might lead to unpredictable outbreaks of violence with terrorist attacks by "lone wolves", as was the case in recent weeks.

Palestinians are indeed increasingly distrustful, not only of Israel, but also of the Palestinian Authority, which has failed to defend the rights of its own people.