By Nidal S. El-Bashir/Staff writerAfter nearly a year of intense negotiations with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and other nations, a joint plan to build a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is finally under way, and with the support of the United States and other key allies.
The deal will see the PA move toward a more democratic, inclusive and peaceful future by creating a new, internationally supervised Palestinian state that would include East Jerusalem, and eventually also Gaza.
The move is the culmination of years of efforts by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction to create a unified, inclusive government in the occupied territories.
The U.S. has been a key player in the negotiations, along with its allies in Europe, Canada and Australia.
The new agreement, approved on Tuesday, is expected to be finalized in June, according to a statement from the Palestinian Presidency.
The plan will also see the establishment of a central government for the West bank and Gaza, as well as the creation of an independent Palestinian security authority.
The PA would also take control of its territories.
“The United States, as a partner, will continue to help to develop the political and economic framework necessary for a comprehensive agreement to end the conflict and enable a lasting peace for all Palestinians,” the statement said.
“The new framework will ensure the right of return for Palestinians in the region and help to secure the future of peace and stability for the Palestinian people.”
A number of other countries have expressed their support for the deal.
The White House has also been pressing Abbas to sign it, but has had limited success.
In the weeks since the final version was released, the U.N. General Assembly has also adopted resolutions calling on Abbas to reverse his decision and sign the agreement.
But the Obama administration, under pressure from Israel, is moving more forcefully to pressure Abbas to agree to the plan.
The administration has announced new sanctions against Palestinian leaders, including the Palestinian National Authority’s (PNA), as well a series of other measures that would penalize the PA’s foreign and domestic support for terror and terrorist organizations.
In addition, the White House is also pushing to isolate Abbas by making him a priority target for U.J.S.-led sanctions.
The Obama administration has also expressed concern over the possibility that the PA will attempt to implement the agreement without the United Nations, an idea that has already been considered.
A number also voiced their support of a peace deal with Israel.
In a joint statement, the European Union and Canada urged Abbas to support a “peace plan that guarantees the establishment and ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands in a sovereign, contiguous and independent Palestinian state.”
But the European Parliament is not expected to endorse the peace deal, which is expected in June.
The PA has been fighting to keep the negotiations going, with the latest step announced last week.
The Palestinian Authority said it was ready to begin work on a new Palestinian state if Israel does not sign the deal by June, and that the country will also be prepared to work with Israel on a final agreement.
“We are not seeking a settlement with Israel,” Fatah’s deputy speaker, Hani Al-Nujaba, said at a press conference in the capital, Ramallah.
“We are prepared to sign an agreement that will allow for a Palestinian State.
We are ready to sign this agreement with Israel as long as Israel respects the rights of the Palestinians, protects its security and respects the Palestinian national aspirations.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud al-Bishr announced that he had submitted the draft agreement to the United Nation, which would then be given final approval.
Al-Beshr said he submitted the plan to the U,N.
Security Council and the International Criminal Court (ICC), but did not provide any details on how he will get it through.
The United Nations has called on the international community to reject any plan that does not include a state for the Palestinians and for all nations to make clear that Israel will not be allowed to establish any settlement in the territories occupied by it since 1967.
The Palestinians have accused Israel of crimes against the Palestinians during the 1948 war and of crimes in the Gaza Strip and the West Jerusalem area in the 1967 war.
Israel says it will not recognize any Palestinian state, and its continued construction of settlements, which the international court has ruled illegal, have fueled tensions in the Middle East.
On Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his opposition to any deal that does include the creation or establishment of an Israeli state, adding that the Palestinian position remains unchanged.
Abbas has repeatedly said he will not sign a peace agreement with the Palestinians unless they recognize Israel as the Jewish state, a position that would require Israel to relinquish sovereignty over all of Jerusalem.
The announcement of the Palestinian deal came just days after the United Kingdom said it would end its cooperation with the PA unless it also agreed to a final peace agreement.