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UN resolution would freeze settlements, Palestinian lawsuits

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 In the latest effort to revive direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, New Zealand has drafted a UN resolution that reportedly calls for a freeze on Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and for Palestinians to abandon their bid to take legal action against Israel at the International Criminal Court.

The draft resolution would assert that the Security Council is “very concerned” over the stalled peace talks, and call on both parties to “take the necessary measures to rebuild confidence and prepare for the resumption of negotiations,” based on a two-state solution, Haaretz reported on Wednesday.
The draft urges both sides to avoid taking “actions or declarations that would harm mutual confidence or predetermine the results of negotiations,” including the expansion of settlements and demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, the report said.
Distributed to the 14 members of the Security Council on Friday, the resolution would also call on both sides to refrain from making “provocative actions” against the status quo on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the epicenter of recent unrest in Israel and the West Bank.
It would further call on Palestinians to refrain from “lodging complaints against Israel or the situation in the territories at the International Court in The Hague.”
The resolution would appeal to Security Council member states, Arab supporters of the Saudi peace initiative and Quartet representatives, to support Israelis and Palestinians in preparing for renewed talks.
Last week, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully told the Security Council he hoped the measure would help “stimulate a level of debate” on the way forward as Israel and the Palestinians sink deeper into violence.
“The events of recent weeks cry out for council action,” said McCully.
New Zealand’s initiative was floated after France circulated a draft for a council statement that failed to win agreement, highlighting difficulties to forge a consensus in the 14-member council. The French draft called for the stationing of international observers on the Temple Mount.
Diplomats said they did not expect New Zealand’s proposal to be a game-changer, but the initiative underscored the need for the Security Council to take a more active role.
The council has not adopted a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process since 2009 and its last formal statement dates back to September 17, when it called for calm at the Temple Mount.

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