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US Does Not Back UN Palestinian Statehood Resolution

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour (L) and Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar leave a meeting of Arab states at U.N. headquarters, Dec. 29, 2014.

Palestinian leaders are seeking to move forward with a draft United Nations resolution that calls for a peace deal with Israel within a year and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories within three years.

Palestinians say they may seek a U.N. Security Council vote on the resolution as early as this week.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Israeli government has been “stalling” in peace talks for more than 20 years and this has led to what he called the status quo.

“This status quo is not sustainable and will not continue,” said Erekat.

Consistent opposition

Both Israel and the United States have voiced opposition to the Palestinians’ U.N. draft resolution.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said, “We don’t think this resolution is constructive. We think it sets arbitrary deadlines for reaching a peace agreement and for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank.”

Also, the United States says it does not back a draft U.N. resolution on Palestinian statehood, in part, because it would not guarantee Israel's security.

Rathke said the resoultion makes peace talks less likely to succeed, and that the draft fails to take into account Israel's legitimate security needs, which he said are necessary for a sustainable settlement.

Peace talks

The U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled in April. But since then, Secretary of State John Kerry has held a series of separate meetings with officials on both sides in a bid to reignite talks.

Neri Zilber, a visiting scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said even if Palestinians are successful at the U.N. Security Council, it might not change the situation on the ground for them.

“They would still have to go back and meet with the Israelis face to face,” said Zilber.

He said Palestinians may be hoping that they can use their resolution to impose pressure on Israel.

“My sense, from meetings with Palestinian officials, is that they view this more as a pressure tactic on Israel than as a real mechanism to bring about a Palestinian state in the foreseeable future,” he said.

The resolution also would create a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, but most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv.

At least nine U.N. Security Council votes are needed for the resolution to pass. The United States is one of five permanent members of the Council with veto power.

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.