Palestinians mull next steps after failed UN bid
After Palestinians fail to gain necessary majority for UN Security Council resolution calling for end of 'Israeli occupation', Palestinians meet to decide what's next: 'There will be no more waiting, no more hesitation - We are going to meet and make decisions.'
Meanwhile, Hamas denounced Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas for the "failure" to push through a UN resolution: "This was a unilateral decision taken by Abu Mazen (Abbas) who has taken the Palestinian decision-making process hostage," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told AFP, describing it as a "new failure" by the Palestinian leader.
The UN vote Tuesday against the Palestinian bid, which called for the Israeli occupation to end within three years, was a blow to an Arab campaign for international action to bring about an independent Palestinian state.
The Palestinians have long vowed to join the ICC in order to press charges against Israel for alleged war crimes. But membership could expose the Palestinians to similar allegations.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said officials would hold a "very serious meeting" Wednesday and could set a date for applying for membership to the ICC and other international agencies.
"There will be no more waiting, no more hesitation, no more slowdown," Erekat said. "We are going to meet and make decisions."
Frustrated by the moribund peace process, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank has pursued a more confrontational approach toward Israel and the US by seeking broader international recognition for a Palestinian state.
In 2012 the UN accepted Palestine as a non-member observer state. The Palestinians' next step was the UN bid to set a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
The United States, Israel's closest ally, voted against Tuesday's UN resolution, insisting on negotiations rather than an imposed timetable.
France and Luxembourg were among countries that voted in favor of the UN resolution, reflecting growing impatience, especially in Europe, over the lack of progress in more than two decades of on-again off-again peace talks.
Palestinian officials had previously said if the UN bid failed, they would seek membership in more international bodies, including the ICC.
Also on Wednesday, two masked assailants threw a firebomb into a Palestinian home in a suspected Israeli attack in the southern West Bank village of Khirbet al-Karmil, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
Samri said Palestinians were in the home when the attack took place at around 4 a.m. Wednesday, but no one was wounded. A room in the home was damaged in the fire, and the word "revenge" in Hebrew was found scrawled nearby, she said.
The attack could have been in response to a firebomb attack last week on a car belonging to Jewish settlers in the West Bank. A young Israeli girl suffered serious burns and her father was lightly wounded in the attack. Israel says it arrested Palestinians who confessed to throwing the firebomb.