France is preparing a draft UN Security Council resolution on Palestinian statehood to be submitted in about 12 days, French diplomatic officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The draft would define the pre-1967 borders as a reference point for peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel but allow room for exchanges of territory. It would also designate Jerusalem as capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state and call for a fair solution for Palestinian refugees, one official told the news agency.
The news comes several days after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced the plans to begin talks at the UN on a new Security Council resolution to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects.
While the substance of the French draft may not differ much from past failed efforts to revive Mideast peace talks, France is hoping this time to avoid a U.S. veto at the UN because of increasing American frustration with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the French official told AP.
The official described a possible "backdoor" for negotiations now, and said "all actors including the Americans now realize that all other ways have been explored, without success."
After Netanyahu's election win and his comments rejecting Palestinian statehood, the White House said it would “re-evaluate” its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict. The French official praised the "pretty clear message sent by the Americans," according to AP.
Another French official said France is working with the U.S. to gain backing for the new peace effort. France is also seeking support from European and Arab partners.
Neither official was authorized to be publicly named. They both declined to provide more details on the possible sticking points in the negotiations.
Despite its statement that it would “re-evaluate” its approach regarding support for Israel at the UN, the French initiative was met with a cool reception by Washington last Friday.
"We're not going to get ahead of any decisions about what the United States would do with regard to potential action at the UN Security Council," a U.S. official said, adding, "We continue to engage with key stakeholders, including the French, to find a way forward that advances the interest we and others share in a two-state solution.
The Security Council in December rejected a resolution that would have set a deadline for reaching a final peace deal and pave the way to the creation of a Palestinian state.
The United States had voted against the measure but was spared from resorting to its veto after eight council members voted yes, one vote short of the nine needed for adoption.
Following the results of the elections in Israel, Fabius called for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume in order to achieve "a comprehensive and lasting peace accord" based on the “two-state solution”.