Abbas to demand U.N. resolution to end occupation

If the U.N. rejects his appeal, Abbas said he will seek membership in international institutions and agencies

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Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that he will demand an international resolution that would set a timetable for ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories when he speaks to the U.N. General Assembly this week.

If the U.N. rejects his appeal, Abbas said he will seek membership in international institutions and agencies. His aides have said that would include the International Criminal Court.

Joining the court could potentially open the door to war crimes charges against Israel, both for its military actions in Gaza and for ongoing construction of Jewish settlements on occupied lands.

Abbas spoke Monday in a lecture at Cooper Union college. He is set to speak before the General Assembly on Friday and is meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday.

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 a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday. 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.

In the event of a likely U.S. veto at the Security Council, Abbas will seek membership in dozens of international institutions and agencies, including the International Criminal Court.

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 Monday.

He said he is frustrated with the Israeli government, accusing it of expanding settlements on Palestinian land rather that making peace.

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