Palestinians should suspend recognition of Israel, PLO council says
Palestinian leaders voted on Monday to call for the suspension of recognition of Israel as they met in response to US President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
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The vote ordered the Palestine Liberation Organisation to suspend its recognition of Israel until it "recognises the State of Palestine," cancels its annexation of East Jerusalem and stops settlement activity, a statement said.
The Palestinian Central council also adopted the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to “deter Israel’s blatant violations against international law and stop its ongoing aggression against Palestinians and the apartheid system that it imposes on them”.
In 2013, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had voiced opposition to BDS, drawing condemnation from Palestinian human rights activists.
It was unclear if the vote by the council, a high-ranking arm of the PLO, was binding. A previous vote by the council in 2015 to suspend security coordination with Israel was never implemented.
The vote was 74 in favour, two against, with 12 abstentions, according to an AFP journalist present.
The council called on the international community to assume responsibility for ending the Israeli occupation and achieving an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 border lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in 1967, and it continues to build settlements on Palestinian territories. In December 2016, the UN Security Council denounced the Israeli occupation.
PLO leaders also emphasised rejecting the recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state”. The Palestinian Authority has resisted pressure to accept Israel as a Jewish nation-state out of fear that it may lead to discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The PLO council urged referring Israeli violations, including settlement expansion, abuse against prisoners and war crimes in a 2014 assault on Gaza, to the International Criminal Court.
The leaders also condemned the US for threatening to cut funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides essential services to millions of Palestinian refugees.
The PLO Central Council said Washington is trying to absolve itself of responsibility for the Palestinian refugee crisis that it helped create in 1948.
The council's statement came after Abbas called Trump's peace efforts on Sunday the "slap of the century" as he opened the meeting.