Photo: Anadolu Agency
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat: Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was working on amending and resubmitting a draft resolution for Palestinian statehood.(Photo: Anadolu Agency)

Ramallah, 16 Rabiul Awwal 1436/7 January 2015 (MINA) – Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was working on amending and resubmitting a draft resolution for Palestinian statehood, an earlier version of which was voted down at the UN Security Council (UNSC) last week.

“The amendments will take all matters into consideration and it [the draft resolution] will be submitted again [to the UNSC] if the motion gets the support of all Arab states,” Erekat said in an interview with The Anadolu Agency at his office in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

Erekat said that Palestinian representatives would meet members of the Arab League’s peace-monitoring committee within ten days to discuss the draft, following a request to this effect by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to Arab League Chief Nabil al-Arabi.

Abbas recently said that the PA and Jordan – the latter of which currently enjoys non-permanent UNSC membership – were discussing plans to submit a modified version of the earlier draft, which would also set a deadline for ending Israel’s occupation and establishing a state of Palestine on pre-1967 borders.

Last week, the UNSC rejected an Arab-backed Palestinian draft resolution that had set 2017 as the deadline for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank.

The bill failed to win the nine votes necessary for it to pass, with the U.S. – Israel’s longstanding, veto-wielding ally – voting against the proposal.

In response to the bill’s failure, Abbas applied for Palestinian membership in 20 international treaties and organizations including the International Criminal Court (ICC), which would theoretically allow the PA to sue Israel for war crimes.

“Israel knows very well what President Abbas’ decision to sign the treaties entails,” Erekat told AA.

“They know they can’t sue us, because we’re under occupation, and international law allows us to resist our occupiers,” he added.

He was referring to a recent warning by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi that Israel would be able to sue the PA at the ICC for alleged “involvement in terrorism.”

Erekat also said the PA would convene soon to discuss a response to Israel’s recent decision to stop the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues collected on behalf of the PA.

The revenues, estimated at some $175 million a month, are an essential source of income for the PA, which uses most of it to pay the salaries of the recently-formed unity government’s civil servants.

“This will not lead to the dissolution of the PA, which was created to bring the Palestinian people from occupation to independence,” Erekat said.

“It would be impossible for Israel to turn the PA into a merely bureaucratic entity,” he added. “The occupation must assume all responsibilities enshrined in the 1949 Geneva Conventions.”

Israel’s move to halt tax revenue transfers to the PA had come in response to Abbas’ move to join the ICC.

“If they fear prosecution so much, they should keep their hands off us,” Erekat said.

The PA seeks to establish a Palestinian state on territories occupied by Israel during the 1967 Middle East War, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

After occupying the West Bank in 1967, Israel later annexed the entire city of Jerusalem in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community. (T/P010/P3)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)