[Tuesday Evening, April 1, 2014] Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has signed fifteen applications that would be submitted to the United Nations, aiming at joining more UN bodies and treaties.The president signed the applications during a meeting held with various officials at his headquarters in the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
Following the meeting, Abbas said the Palestinian leadership is ready to continue its international campaign aiming at obliging Israel to abide by International Law and all related UN and Security Council resolutions.
“We aren’t trying to pressure any party, we seek no confrontation with Tel Aviv and Washington,” the Palestinian President said. “Our legitimate activities do not target any country, this is our right, and we are going to use it”.
Abbas further stated that the Palestinian leadership held more than 39 meetings with the U.S. mediator, Secretary of State John Kerry, but Israel did not show readiness to advance direct peace talks, and continued its violations and illegitimate settlement activities.
The latest Palestinian decision came just as the nine-month direct Palestinian-Israeli talks beginning in June of 2013 are about to expire, without any real progress, while Tel Aviv continues its settlement construction and expansion activities, and continues to target Palestinians civilians, their property and lands.
“All what we’ve seen from Israel is more and more delays, more violations,” the Palestinian President stated. “We are determined to achieve a peace agreement through talks.
Back in July of last year, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reached an agreement with the Palestinians and Tel Aviv, obliging the Palestinians not to file more applications at different UN organizations, in exchange for releasing 104 veteran detainees and resuming direct talks.
The 104 detainees are veteran Palestinian political prisoners who have been imprisoned by Israel since before 1993.
Israel said that it would release them in four phases, but broke its vows and is refusing to implement the fourth phase.
“We agreed to resume talks, agreed not to head to the United Nations, in exchange for the release of all veteran detainees,” Abbas said. “We told them, should Israel back down on its vows, we will head to the United Nations.”
Abbas further stated that the Palestinians have the internationally guaranteed right to head to the UN, to join 63 international organizations and treaties.
“And this is what we will do, the Palestinian leadership approves the move,’ he stated. “There is a unanimous decision in this regard.”
Palestinian officials said the most important move is joining the Fourth Geneva Convention agreement regarding the protection of civilians, especially since it recognizes the Palestinian territories to be under occupation.
Head of the Palestinian National Initiative, legislator Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, said that this decision is the resumption of the international campaign, and that the Palestinians will head to all international organizations.
Barghouthi added that amongst the most important international institutions the Palestinians intend to join are the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Convention of Diplomatic Relations, the Human Rights Convention, the Convention Against Corruption, and the Women’s Rights Convention.
“There will be many more international institutions and treaties to join ,“ Dr. Barghouthi stated. “The International Criminal Court will be one of them in the future.”
On Tuesday, at dawn, [December 31, 2013] Israel released 26 veteran Palestinian detainees, as part of the third phase of releasing all detained Palestinians held since before the first Oslo peace agreement of 1993.
During the first and second phases, Israel released, back in mid-August, 26 veteran detainees (14 from Gaza and 12 from the West bank) and, in late October, it released 26 veteran detainees (21 from Gaza and 5 from the West Bank).
The fourth and final stage of releasing veteran detainees was supposed to be implemented on March 28, 2014, but Israel decided not to let them go. In total 104 veteran detainees were supposed to be freed by March 28.
Israel holds more than 5,000 Palestinians in its prisons, most of them on security grounds. Around 150 of these are held under administrative detention, without charge or trial, and another 150 are minors.
Approximately 84% of the detainees are from the West Bank; all detainees are held in 17 prisons, detention and interrogation centers, including Nafha prison, the Negev Detention Camp, Be’er As-Sabe’ prison, Hadarim prison, Asqalan Prison, Ha-Sharon Prison, Ofer Prison, Majiddo Prison, Galboa’ Prison and Shatta Prison.