RAMALLAH, April 19 (JMCC) - Palestinians are planning to take their cause to the United Nations if no deal is reached with Israel by September, UN diplomat Riyad Mansour told the
Associated Press in an interview.
The push to establish a Palestinian state would ideally happen at the Security Council, he said, but if United States opposition barred that option, Palestinians would seek a resolution by the General Assembly.
“Our preference what should happen in September is to have a peace treaty with the Israelis to end the occupation to allow for our independence and our membership in the United Nations,” Mansour said.
The U.S. has been heading efforts to restart negotiations but Mansour said the Palestinians want the Quartet — the mediating group consisting of the U.S., U.N., European Union and Russia — to take the lead.
Mansour expressed regret that the U.S. blocked a Quartet meeting tentatively scheduled for last Friday in Berlin to discuss, and hopefully endorse, the outlines of a peace settlement proposed by Britain, France and Germany. A U.S. official said a Quartet meeting wouldn’t produce anything that would help restart direct talks.
But Mansour said Palestinian leaders “indicated willingness to go back to negotiations” if the Quartet agreed on the proposal by the three European countries.
It calls for an immediate halt to settlement activity, a solution to the question of Palestinian refugees, and agreement on the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both countries and on borders before the 1967 Mideast war, with approved land swaps. It also called for security arrangements that respect Palestinian sovereignty and protect Israel’s security and prevent a resurgence of terrorism.
“We’re trying our best to open doors for negotiations,” Mansour said in the interview late Thursday. “The Israelis are choosing settlements over peace.”