BY EMET REPORT—
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to turn down Washington’s request to withdraw a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding Israel halt settlement expansion on occupied land.
Several officials close to Abbas on Friday predicted this would be the consensus of a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive later in the day to discuss President Barack Obama’s telephone call with Abbas on Thursday.
Washington has made it clear that it will veto the resolution should it come to a vote, and has implored the Palestinian Authority and other Arab nations to withdraw the proposal, but to no avail.
The point of the resolution, foreign diplomats say, is to highlight Washington’s isolated position on the Security Council, show the Palestinian population that the Palestinian Authority is taking action, and to pressure Israel and the United States on the settlement issue.
The resolution has nearly 120 co-sponsors, exclusively Arab and other non-aligned nations. UN diplomats said that the draft would probably receive 14 votes in favor and the one veto if put to an immediate vote.
“Caving in to American pressure and withdrawing the resolution will constitute Goldstone 2,” said a Palestinian official, speaking on terms of anonymity.
He was referring to the wave of protest in October 2009 accusing Abbas of caving in to U.S. pressure by agreeing not to submit for adoption a U.N. report that accused Israel and Hamas Islamists of war crimes during the brief Gaza war two years ago.
Abbas was hanged and burnt in effigy by pro-Hamas supporters furious over the move. Abbas maintains he insisted on submitting the report. “It will be a political catastrophe if we withdraw this resolution,” said a second Palestinian official.
“People would take to the streets and would topple the president,” he said, noting the wave of protest in the Arab world that swept out the Egyptian and Tunisian presidents. “It would have been easier for us if there were no revolts in the Arab world,” another Palestinian official said.
The diplomatic maneuvering is complicated by the effects of Middle East turmoil on the Arab League, those members backed the draft resolution.