NEW YORK – Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that he will submit a resolution to the U.N. Security Council on Friday seeking a three-year timetable for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank.
The resolution will be handed in immediately after Abbas speaks at the U.N. General Assembly.
Abbas was to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry later Tuesday and express little optimism the resolution would survive a Security Council vote. The United States will almost certainly veto such a measure, having said the only resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiations between the two sides.
A day earlier, Abbas said a U.N. rejection of the resolution would prompt him to seek membership in international institutions and agencies. Aides said that would include the International Criminal Court, opening the door to war crimes charges against Israel for its military actions in Gaza and Jewish settlement construction on West Bank land the Palestinians want for a future state..
Also Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told The Associated Press after a donor meeting led by Norway that he asked for urgent aid amounting to $3.8 billion for reconstruction of Gaza after the summer war with Israel. He said Saudi Arabia had pledged $500 million and other nations indicated they would join in.
The recent Gaza war has weakened Abbas domestically, with Hamas enjoying a surge of popularity among Palestinians for fighting Israel. He is under pressure at home to come up with a new political strategy after his repeated but failed attempts to establish a Palestinian state through U.S.-mediated negotiations with Israel.
Abbas adviser Nabil Abu Rdeneh has said the Palestinian leader would present a new strategy in his U.N. speech. In recent weeks, Abbas and his aides have hinted at the outlines.
Under the plan, Abbas would ask the U.N. Security Council to issue a binding resolution, with a specific date for ending Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Captured by Israel in 1967, the territories were recognized by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 as making up a state of Palestine.
The U.S. has urged Abbas not to turn to the Security Council, but has not offered an alternative, said a Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to discuss internal deliberations with the media. Abbas will use meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly to gauge international support for his plan, said the official.
“This week I will propose to the United Nations a new timetable for peace talks. The key is to agree on a map to delineate the borders of each country,” Abbas said.
He said he is frustrated with the Israeli government, accusing it of expanding settlements on Palestinian land rather that making peace