12/15/2014, 00.00
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Palestinians pushing UN to end Israeli occupation by 2016

by Joshua Lapide
A draft resolution is set to be presented on Wednesday to the Security Council. Many European countries have expressed support for the recognition of a Palestinian state. Talks between Kerry, Lavrov and EU foreign ministers are designed to find a shared solution. Netanyahu's reaction is one of outrage.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - The Palestinian Authority has decided to table a draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for the end to Israeli occupation in the West Bank.

According to the draft resolution, set for next Wednesday, Israel would have to leave the occupied territories by November 2016. This step is part of Palestine's recent diplomatic offensive for recognition as a member of the United Nations and other international bodies.

In many countries in Europe and around the world, parliaments have voted in favour of the recognition of the State of Palestine.

In Europe, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and all the countries of Eastern Europe support recognition.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini prefers a slower process of recognition whilst pushing for a quick resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Talks have been stalled for the past two years as Israel continues its illegal settlements in the territories and East Jerusalem, making it increasingly difficult for establishment of a Palestinian state with territorial continuity.

Jumpstarting stalled negotiations has been harder by the latest round of fighting in Gaza last summer and a series of attacks by so-called 'lone wolves' against defenceless Israeli civilians, soldiers and a synagogue in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

In view of the situation, US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Rome yesterday for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Washington's top diplomat is scheduled to meet today in Paris with French, German and British foreign ministers and the new EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini.

It is unclear whether Kerry will call for the recognition of Palestine, or - more likely - try to water down the resolution.

The United States has long opposed unilateral Palestinian moves to win recognition for the State of Palestine that might jeopardise talks between Israel and Palestine. Yet, Washington has been powerless in the face of expanding illegal Jewish settlements.

According to the US State Department, Kerry will try to find a diplomatic path to prevent "an escalation of the violence on the ground" and "keep open the hope of a two-state solution".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blasted the "diplomatic assault" that would push Israel back to its 1967 borders. Pulling out now, he said, would bring "Islamic extremists to the suburbs of Tel Aviv and to the heart of Jerusalem".

For their part, Palestinian activists note that recent violence in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is the direct result of the lack of prospects for a Palestinian state, free from occupation.

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