Vote on Israel/Palestine Draft Resolution
At 5pm today (Tuesday, 30 December), the Council will convene to vote on a draft resolution (S/2014/916) calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the end of 2017. Yesterday, the Arab Group met to discuss the initiative and submitted amendments to a previous draft that had been put in blue by Jordan on 17 December.
It seems that the draft resolution is unlikely to be adopted. Several countries appear set to abstain during the voting, and although the draft may garner the votes of nine Council members (the minimum number required for adoption absent a veto from a permanent member), it appears that the US, which has publicly said that it cannot support the text, will veto the resolution. Earlier today, the UK delegation, too, indicated it could not support the draft, which suggests that the UK might abstain or veto the draft.
On 17 December 2014, Jordan, on behalf of the Arab Group, circulated a draft resolution affirming the need to attain, within 12 months of adoption, a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution that “brings an end to the Israeli occupation since 1967” and fulfils the vision of two independent, democratic and prosperous states: Israel and a sovereign, contiguous state of Palestine. The 17 December draft outlined the following parameters for a peace agreement: borders based on 4 June 1967, with mutually agreed, limited and equivalent land swaps; the establishment of security agreements, including through a third party, that respect the sovereignty of a state of Palestine and that ensure the security of both Israel and Palestine, “including through a full and phased withdrawal of Israeli security forces which will end the occupation that began in 1967 over an agreed transition period in a reasonable timeframe, not to exceed the end of 2017”; a just and agreed solution to the refugee question on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative, international law and relevant UN resolutions, including resolution 194; Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two states; and an agreed settlement of other outstanding issues, including water. The draft recognised that the final status agreement would end the occupation and lead to immediate mutual recognition, looked forward to welcoming Palestine as a full UN member state within the timeframe defined by the resolution, and called for a renewed negotiation framework.
Yesterday, following consultations within the Arab Group, amendments were made to both the preambular and operative paragraphs of this text at the request of the Palestinians. The updated text now recalls the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004 on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; omits the term “shared” from the reference to Jerusalem as the capital of two states and references East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine. It demands the complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem; and, among other changes, adds a reference to resolving the issue of prisoners.
Various iterations of the draft resolution have been in the pipeline for three months now. In late September, a Palestinian-written draft was circulated and was discussed among Council members once at expert-level but did not garner the support of a majority of Council members. Subsequently, France, with input from the UK and Germany, drafted a text that outlined parameters for a negotiated solution to the conflict, which formed the basis for the current draft but includes several changes made by the Palestinians.
While the various versions of the resolution have been discussed among the P3, the Arab Group and the parties, the current draft was put in blue and the vote called without any consultations of the whole Council taking place. On 18 December, a day after the draft had first been put into blue, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that it was not something the US would support. Throughout the process, several Council members have expressed their desire to continue negotiations on the text until a consensus was reached; however, the Palestinians have urged a quick vote. Earlier this week, Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar, said that Arab delegations would do what the Palestinians wanted, but indicated Jordan would prefer not to rush things and continue consultations.