Palestinians Want U.N. to Stop Israeli Settlements

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JERUSALEM, Israel - The Palestinians want the United Nations to stop Israel from building in its biblical heartland - Judea and Samaria or the West Bank.

The Palestinians have prepared a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity, which they intend to present to the U.N. Security Council, probably in February, reports said.

The move comes after the U.S. backed down on its demand that Israel renew a freeze on building in Judea and Samaria earlier this month, saying they had determined an extension of the 10-month moratorium, which expired in September, wouldn't provide the best platform for resuming direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

In response to the Palestinian draft resolution, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Meron Reuben said Palestinian "attempts to bypass this road only move us further away from returning to the negotiation table and reaching a two-state solution."

"Israel has demonstrated time and time again its commitment to peace and we hope that the International Community won't allow these moves to divert both sides from reaching the real goal - peace and stability in our region," Reuben said on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, at least three countries recognized a "state of Palestine" within the 1967 lines, i.e., the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including eastern Jerusalem.

Both the U.S. and Israel rejected what appeared to be a new trend of unilaterally recognizing an independent Palestinian state.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold told CBN News at the time that Palestinians didn't want to return to negotiations because they thought they could get more with a unilateral declaration.

Gold said that although the declarations wouldn't change anything on the ground, it would depend how they would be integrated into a broader unilateralist strategy by the Palestinians.

"They began in 2009 under the [former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert government, turning to the international criminal court invoking a clause, which was reserved only for states. Now they're using various countries in the world to give them recognition, within the 1967 lines, which were never previous borders," said Gold.

"The next move, may be the UN General Assembly and after that the UN Security Council and then they want to produce a fait accompli so they can say to the United States 'well if you veto this, if you veto what we're doing you're simply running against the will of the international community and maybe they can persuade the Obama administration to abstain,'" he said.

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Julie Stahl

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