EXCLUSIVE – Palestinian Official Takes Breitbart Jerusalem Inside Campaign To Target Settlements at United Nations

Israeli security forces scuffle Palestinian demonstrators during a protest near the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba demanding the reopening of Shuhada Street in the Israeli occupied West Bank city of Hebron and to commemorate the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre of 1994, on February 26, 2016.

The Palestinians expect the international community to not only state clearly that Jewish settlements in the West Bank represent a major obstacle to peace but to actually do something about it, a top adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Breitbart Jerusalem in an interview.

The adviser, Nimer Hamad, spoke as the Palestinian leadership prepares to submit a draft motion to the United Nations calling for the immediate resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a final status agreement within one year, and a total halt to Jewish settlement activity.

“We want the world to follow up on its responsibility to defuse this time bomb,” stated Hamad. “The settlers and their policies are an obstacle to peace, and the Israeli government labors to consolidate it instead. The world must have a say on this.”

Hamad spoke without a trace of irony in his voice even though the Palestinians have repeatedly walked away from talks with Israel, and for the last three years have refused to go so far as to start negotiations. This despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unprecedented step of freezing settlement activity as a “gesture” to jumpstart talks. Netanyahu also released Palestinian terrorists from prison in another so-called goodwill gesture to get the PA to the bargaining table.

Hamad’s characterization of settlements as the main obstacle to peace seems to ignore the PA’s official role in using its state-run media outlets to incite the murder of Israelis, as Breitbart Jerusalem has repeatedly documented.

Hamad, meanwhile, said that the draft UN motion is still being negotiated by countries sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, chief among them the Arab bloc, and there is still no deadline for submission.

“The negotiation partly revolves around the question of timing,” he said.

The fact that the motion wasn’t immediately embraced by the Palestinians’ allies suggests it may face difficulties further down the line.

Separately, a senior Palestinian official told Breitbart Jerusalem that the original plan was to submit the motion to the Security Council during Abbas’ visit to the UN for a climate summit. However, he admitted, the Arab countries refused to push it forward and even tried to convince Palestinian Ambassador Riad Mansur to withdraw it, saying that regional conditions are not ripe.

The official said that the Palestinians expect to receive several Israeli gestures in exchange for withdrawing the motion, including ceding Palestinian urban areas to the PA’s sole control, a commitment to freeze settlement construction, and tacit approval of an Egyptian proposal to reinstate Palestinian control over Gaza’s border crossings.

“We realize that whatever motion we submit to the UN will be struck down by an American veto unless we secure Washington’s support in advance,” the official said. “The White House said they support our motion in principle, but for political reasons they wont abstain with a veto, namely Obama’s wish not to obstruct Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidential election. That’s what our delegation was led to believe. Once again, we fall victim to America’s domestic politics.”

On Tuesday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki met his Turkish counterpart and asked him for his country’s support for the Palestinian motion at the summit of Islamic states that will take place in Istanbul next week.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.


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