By Arab News
By Daoud Kuttab
The UN Security Council is expected to vote on Monday on a draft resolution on the status of Jerusalem, with Palestinian leaders confident of overwhelming support from 14 of the council’s 15 members.
“We have been in touch with Security Council members and we have been assured of their unity behind the Jerusalem resolution, which at its heart reaffirms the council’s previous resolutions,” Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the UN, told Arab News.
The Palestinian delegation to the UN, along with Egypt, the draft resolution’s sponsor, have worked at taking into consideration the requests of member states, Mansour said.
“The Europeans in particular asked us to avoid terms like ‘denounce’ and ‘condemn,’ and not to mention the US by name. We acceded to their request but kept the active clauses rejecting all changes to Jerusalem and the reaffirmation of previous decisions.”
The draft UN resolution “affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”
It follows the unilateral US recognition this month of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The US is likely to veto the draft resolution, but the Palestinians say they have options to deal with that. One is to invoke a rarely used article of the UN Charter that calls for parties with “a dispute” not to cast a veto, although this is viewed as unlikely.
The Palestinians are more likely to take the issue to the UN General Assembly under Resolution 377A, known as the “Uniting for Peace” resolution.
This states that if there no unanimity among the five permanent members of the Security Council, the General Assembly may act itself to maintain international peace and security, and may convene an emergency session.
Resolution 377A was passed in 1950 and used to authorize the deployment of US troops in Korea.
It was last invoked in the 1980s when Palestinians attempted to circumvent the US veto of a resolution on the Jabal Abu Ghneim settlement south of Jerusalem. The emergency session convened then was left in suspension and may be reopened at any time, Mansour said.
“If the resolution is vetoed, the Palestinian delegation can send a letter to the UN Secretary General and ask him to resume the emergency session.”
Israel’s permanent representative to the UN, Danny Danon, condemned the Egyptian draft resolution.
“No vote or debate will change the clear reality that Jerusalem always has been and always will be the capital of Israel. Together with our allies, we will continue to fight, once again, for historical truth,” he said.
In other developments, a special Arab League committee to react to the US declaration on Jerusalem will comprise the foreign ministers of Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the UAE, along with the organization’s Secretary General.
The committee will meet in Amman this week to finalize its strategy and actions, Arab League spokesman Mahmoud Afify said.