Palestinians heading to US to pressure Obama to move against Israel

The Palestinians are still hoping that Obama will make a last-ditch diplomatic move against Israel at the UN. 

A senior-level Palestinian delegation headed by chief negotiator Saeb Erekat is set to arrive in the US this week in an effort to pressure the Obama administration into making a last-minute diplomatic move against Israel before the president leaves office in a few weeks.

Israel’s Haaretz cited anonymous Palestinian officials and “Western diplomats” as saying that a main goal of the mission is to discuss a possibility of an anti-Israel United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution.

An official from the office of the Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas reportedly said that the outgoing Obama administration is unlikely to accept the draft resolution in its current form. Discussions will be geared toward negotiating a version that would avoid an American veto when the resolution is introduced to the UNSC, reportedly scheduled for January, he added.

Haaretz said that the delegation also includes the future Palestinian ambassador to Washington, Husam Zumlut, and head of the Palestinian general intelligence service Majid Faraj. Faraj and Erekat are expected to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The sources told Haaretz that “if the Palestinians act wisely and rationally, they have a chance” of passing the resolution at the UNSC.

However, US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro stated at the beginning of the month that Obama will not support a resolution at the UNSC adopting a unilateral move that would recognize the ‘state of Palestine’ or force a settlement on Israel.

Shapiro said that the US has” always opposed unilateral propositions. This is a long-term policy. If there will ever be a unilateral proposal, we have opposed it in the past and will do so in the future.”

Shapiro made the statement on the background of resurfacing reports that Obama may use his last days in office launch a last-ditch diplomatic initiative and push through a one-sided anti-Israel resolution at the UNSC.

Citing White House officials, AP reported that Obama has nearly ruled out any major effort to put pressure on Israel over stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Frustrated by the lack of progress, Obama for more than a year had considered supporting a UN resolution laying out parameters for such a deal. Although the goal would supposedly be to impart fresh urgency to the declining peace process, such a step would have been perceived as constraining Israel’s negotiating hand while strengthening the Palestinians’ argument on the world stage.

Avoiding a last-minute move also allows President-elect Donald Trump to approach the Israeli-Palestinian issue unencumbered by a move made by his predecessor.

For years, the US has officially opposed any attempts by Palestinians to seek recognition for statehood or to allow international bodies like the UN to impose solutions.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian al-Quds newspaper reported that the delegation also intends to meet with officials from the incoming Trump administration.

By: World Israel News Staff