The Palestinian Authority (PA) is hoping that the United States will not veto its UN resolution condemning Israeli “settlements” with President Barack Obama in his last months in office.
Speaking to The Associated Press (AP) on Sunday, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said the hope is that Obama, freed of re-election concerns, will break with American protocol and refrain from vetoing the resolution.
"There are indications that President Barack Obama may try to put a basis for a new era regarding the Palestinian-Israeli issue before leaving the White House after his achievements in Iran and Cuba," Malki told the news agency.
"Thus the U.S. administration may surprise Israel by voting in favor of a Palestinian resolution or at least not to use the veto against it," he added.
The draft, which Malki said stresses the "violence and terrorism of the settlers," still needs approval from Arab nations before the Palestinians would consider presenting it. But the move signals a renewed effort to get back on the agenda.
The UN Security Council failed in 2011 to adopt such a resolution after the United States used its veto to block the measure, which said Israel’s construction in Judea and Samaria is "illegal."
The PA’s efforts to pass the resolution again move mark its latest attempt to embarrass Israel and have it condemned in international institutions.
In 2014, the PA submitted a resolution to the UN which called for Israel to “end the occupation” - that is, to withdraw from Judea and Samaria - by 2017.
The draft resolution would have set a 12-month deadline for wrapping up negotiations on a final settlement and the end of 2017 as the time frame for completing an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
The resolution was put to a vote in the UN Security Council late last year, but failed to secure enough votes in favor to pass.
Asked last week about the latest Palestinian proposal, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington had no position, saying the draft is still at a "very early stage."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has dismissed the Palestinian efforts at the UN as an attempt to impose a solution on Israel and circumvent negotiations.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon swiped down the proposed resolution as well, calling it an attempt "to deceive the international community by putting forward initiatives that do nothing to better the lives of either side of this conflict."