UN Security Council to Vote Today on Ending Israeli Occupation

The United Nations Security Council has called for a vote today on a resolution backed by Arab nations that would order an Israeli withdrawal within three years from territories it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.

The resolution, introduced by Jordan, will almost certainly be defeated in the council, either because it lacks the minimum nine votes needed for passage or because the U.S. would veto it.

“We believe this is the wrong resolution at the wrong time,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said at a briefing today in Washington.

Secretary of State John Kerry has called about 13 foreign leaders in the last two days urging the defeat of the resolution, Rathke said.

He declined to say how the U.S. would vote, although other administration officials have promised a veto of any resolution that sets a timetable for Israel to withdraw from lands it captured in 1967.

The vote is scheduled for 5 p.m. New York time today, according to a tweet from Dina Kawar, Jordan’s UN ambassador and the Arab representative on the Security Council.

The draft resolution calls for a negotiated peace deal within 12 months that would create two contiguous independent states based on the borders that existed before the 1967 war, modified by agreed-upon land swaps.

The push for a UN resolution is a largely symbolic move by Arab states to strengthen the hand of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who’s under domestic political pressure to fight for statehood after the U.S. effort to revive negotiations with Israel collapsed earlier this year.

Now any renewed peace talks are effectively on hold at least until after Israel’s parliamentary elections in March.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned Abbas’s push for a UN-ordered Israeli withdrawal. In a text message from his office, Netanyahu said Abbas “doesn’t understand that the result will be the Hamas takeover of Judea and Samaria -- exactly as previously happened in Gaza.”

Judea and Samaria are the Biblical names for the West Bank, which is governed by Abbas’s Palestinian Authority. Hamas, which the U.S. and Israel designate as a terrorist group, controls the Gaza Strip.

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