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Draft UNSC Resolution Rebukes Israel Annexation Plan

The draft, which was reported on by Reuters on Tuesday, has been drawn up by Palestinians and circulated to council members by Tunisia and Indonesia. The resolution “stresses the illegality of the annexation of any part” of the occupied Palestinian territories and “condemns recent statements calling for annexation by Israel” of these territories. Last Tuesday, US President Donald Trump unveiled the outlines of his so-called “deal of the century,” saying it features Israel’s annexation of the apartment blocks that it has propped up across the West Bank since occupying the Palestinian territory during a war in 1967. More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built on the land since the occupation. The deal also envisions the recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” — although Palestinians want the occupied holy city’s eastern part as the capital of their future state. This is while all previous foreign-mediated agreements between the Palestinians and Israelis as well as repeated United Nations’ resolutions have mandated Tel Aviv to withdraw behind the 1967 borders. All Palestinian factions have unanimously rejected Trump’s plan. Palestine stopped recognizing the US as a mediator in the Middle East proper when Trump, in December 2017, recognized occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.” Trump had announced the scheme — which is masterminded by his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner among other key pro-Israeli figures — some two years ago years ago, but had withheld its details. The draft “strongly regrets” that the Trump plan “breaches international law” and UN resolutions. The deal also “undermines the inalienable rights and national aspirations of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and independence,” the draft says. The resolution stresses the need for an acceleration of international and regional efforts to launch “credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process without exception.” It is expected to be submitted to a vote at the Security Council on February 11, coinciding with a visit by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. However, Washington is almost certain to cast its veto against this resolution as usual. The Palestinians, who have vowed to have their complaints heard at the UN, are next expected to take their objection up with the UN General Assembly (UNGA), where Washington cannot strike down any approved resolutions. Observers say a potential UNGA resolution would serve to reflect the overall international reception of the plot, which has mostly attracted negative reactions from across the global scene. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also reasserted the world body’s firm stance against any potential annexation of the Palestinian lands in an indirect attack on the US scheme. “Our position is very clear. We are the guardians of the UN resolutions and international law in relation to the Palestinian question,” he told a wide-ranging news conference at the UN’s headquarters in New York. “We are totally committed to the two-state solution,” based on the 1967 borders. Also on Tuesday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell rejected the annexation clause featured in Trump’s plan. EU governments attach no legal status to the settlements built in the West Bank and Syria’s Golan Heights since Israel’s occupation of the lands, he said, repeating the bloc’s stance on the matter.

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