January 3, 2011 in Nation/World

Palestinians will appeal to U.N.

‘Moderate resolution’ targets settlements
Edmund Sanders Los Angeles Times

JERUSALEM – Frustrated by the collapse of U.S.-sponsored peace talks, Palestinians are preparing to take their case to the U.N. Security Council in the coming days with a resolution declaring ongoing Jewish settlement in the West Bank a major obstacle to ending the conflict.

The carefully worded resolution stops short of calling for sanctions against Israel or seeking recognition for Palestinian statehood. But it is designed to increase pressure on both Israel and the United States, Palestinian officials said.

“It’s a very moderate resolution, by design, because we don’t want the U.S. to veto it,” Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday. “We want the international community to tell Israel that the settlements are against international law.”

If the U.S. were to veto a resolution that reflects what “Obama said in his speech in Cairo” and what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said, “then that’s a story,” Erekat said.

State Department officials are waiting to see the language of the resolution, but they said they would prefer to resume peace talks, rather than see diplomatic moves at the U.N.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, which had been suspended for almost two years, resumed Sept. 2 but broke down less than a month later after Israel did not renew a 10-month partial freeze on settlement construction.

Palestinians said they would not return to the negotiating table until Israel stops building settlements in lands it occupied in 1967.

Ali Hussein, editor in chief of the Palestinian news agency Wafa, said the draft resolution was “a first step on a long road of resolutions until we get to the final resolution that says the occupation should end.”

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