Palestinians Under U.S. Pressure Over Settlement Condemnation Appeal

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is under the pressure of the United States to withdraw a Palestinian appeal to the UN Security Council calling for condemning the Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories, a senior official said on Monday.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister of Palestinian National Authority ( PNA), Reyad al-Malki revealed to the Ramallah-based al-Ayyam daily that the Security Council is expected to debate a draft resolution, which is backed by the Arab countries, by the end of this week on condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, the part of the city the Palestinians want to be their capital.

However, Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of Abbas Fatah party's central committee told Xinhua that President Abbas is facing pressure from the U.S. and other international parties to oblige him to withdraw the appeal.

""President Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have made a telephone conversation,"" al-Ahmed said, adding ""the Palestinians insist to go ahead with their appeal and ask members of the Security Council to vote for the resolution.""

The Palestinians had decided in Oct. 2 last year to suspend the direct peace negotiations with Israel just one month after it was launched in Washington. The suspension came after Israel refused to extend a settlement moratorium after it expired in Sept. 26.

The Palestinians lost hope after the U.S. decided to halt its contacts with Israel to freeze settlement and resume the peace talks, insisting that they won't return to direct talks with Israel until Israel officially freezes settlement in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian side is awaiting for the Security Council to set up a date for debating the draft resolution. However, the Palestinians are concerned that the U.S. would pressure on the world's countries not to vote for it.

Xinhua