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PLO submits applications to join 15 international bodies
Published Wednesday 02/04/2014 (updated) 04/04/2014 10:36
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RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Letters of accession for 15 international multilateral treaties and conventions were handed to the relevant parties on Wednesday after being signed by President Mahmoud Abbas a day earlier, Palestinian officials said.

"I presented the letters signed by Abbas this morning to UN special envoy Robert Serry, as well as to the representatives of the Netherlands and Switzerland," Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said.

He said the Palestinians had begun the "technical process" required to obtain membership of some 15 international conventions and covenants, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.

"This action does not detract from the importance of negotiations. We are still committed to these talks," he said.

In July, the PLO agreed to postpone accession to international bodies in exchange for the release of 104 Palestinians prisoners jailed before the Oslo Accords.

"Since Israel failed to release the last group of prisoners, the State of Palestine is no longer obliged to postpone its rights to accede to multilateral treaties and conventions," the PLO said in a statement Wednesday.

"Despite the escalation of oppressive Israeli policies such as the killing of Palestinian civilians, settlement construction, raids on vulnerable communities, arbitrary arrests and detentions, home demolitions and the removal of residency rights, we remained committed to the negotiations process and supported US efforts," it added.

Earlier, Israeli Tourism Minster Uzi Landau warned of punitive action if the PLO pursued efforts to join UN agencies and threatened that Israel could annex territory in the occupied West Bank in response.

Israel could also hurt the Palestinians economically by acting "to block financial aid to them," the minister added.

Abbas signed letters of accession for the following treaties and conventions:

1. The Four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the First Additional Protocol
2. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
3. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
4. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in armed conflict
5. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
6. The Hague Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land
7. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
8. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
9. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
10. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
11. The United Nations Convention against Corruption
12. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
13. The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
14. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
15. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Hope for continued peace efforts

Meanwhile, a senior official said Wednesday that the PLO wants US efforts to salvage the peace process to continue.

"We hope (US Secretary of State John) Kerry's efforts will be renewed in the coming days," Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee, told reporters in Ramallah.

"Kerry knows the reality. We don't want these efforts to finish."

Abbas' announcement that the PLO had taken steps to join UN agencies angered Israel and prompted Kerry to cancel a trip to Ramallah on Wednesday.

The announcement was a blow to Kerry's frenetic efforts to resolve a dispute over Palestinian prisoners and find a way to extend the fragile peace talks beyond a looming April 29 deadline.

Abed Rabbo said the Palestinian move was "a response to Israel's flagrant violation of the agreement" under which it would release prisoners if the Palestinians refrained from seeking further UN recognition.

"The government of Israel did not release the prisoners, without any reason or even any excuse for not doing so," Abed Rabbo said.

The senior Palestinian official suggested that they would not be quitting talks before the deadline.

"The Palestinian leadership respects its commitments and wants the political process to continue, but we want a real political process, without tricks," he said.

"We will continue our efforts with the US administration, and will do everything we can to remove all obstacles."

The negotiations have faltered over several issues, notably Israel's settlement expansion in occupied Palestinian territory, with the PLO demanding a freeze on settlement construction, including in East Jerusalem.

AFP contributed to this report.
1 ) jesse / usa
02/04/2014 16:25
how does hamas and gaza fit into all this

2 ) Terence / US
02/04/2014 16:44
Go for it Abbas! The European immigrants and quivering in their German boots!

3 ) LB / USA
02/04/2014 17:39
The interesting part is that Israel threatens the PLO for doing what every other civilized nation would do. Given that had the talks been successful and a Palestinian state were created, PLO/PA would have joined these treaties and conventions anyway. So why is Israel concerned about it and if it is so important to them they should have stuck by their agreement to release prisoners, It was not the PLO who broke the agreement. GO ABBAS!

4 ) LOLOL # 5 is funny / Arabs sign for
02/04/2014 18:39
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women You realy have a sense of humor!

5 ) Jim / USA
02/04/2014 18:51
Bravo Palestine! Israel will be held accountable for all of its crimes!

6 ) PLO wants US efforts to salvag / the peace process
02/04/2014 18:51
WHY????????????? GO TO THE UN ALREADY!!!!

7 ) Maisie / UK
02/04/2014 18:53

8 ) Sherri Munnerlyn / US
02/04/2014 19:22
And why should a people not insist that their legal rights under international law be fully respected?

9 ) Outlier / USA
02/04/2014 19:26
Acts of bad faith on both sides aren't precursors to a peace agreement. It may be years before negotiations begin again. Israel can afford to wait, the Palestinians not so much.

10 ) Outlier / USA
02/04/2014 19:45
The good news is that others from the PLO and Israel will be at the table when negotiations restart - probably in a few years. Time has never been the Palestinians' friend and likely won't be again.

11 ) @ the President / Wrong Choices
02/04/2014 20:37
You had two choices:
-1- To do Nothing & Cause No Harm, and
-2- To do Something Harmful to Palestine, and
You Chose Was
- the 15 UN bodies will do nothing positive for Palestine, while
- Israeli punitive actions will greatly harm Palestinians in response !!

12 ) Hanna / Ramallah
02/04/2014 20:54
Great, but more importantly join the International Criminal Court and trie Netanyahu, Liberman, Barak, Peres, etc. for war crimes.

13 ) Years Ago, Now, & Post-Joining / 3 Too Lates
02/04/2014 23:34
To prevent the talks' collapse, and subsequently Palestine's collapse: -1- It was probably too late years ago. -2- It may be already too late now. And, -3- It will definitely be too late after the Palestine joins 15 UN bodies.

14 ) Tobias / USA
02/04/2014 23:49
Netanyahu And Abbas BOTH RENEGED on the agreements, where: * NETANYAHU BUILT, AND * ABBAS GOT 80 REAL PRISONERS RELEASED, BUT * GAVE ESSENTIAL NOTHING IN RETURN (real & promised talks). * AND after joining 15 UN Bodies, whether its Fair or Not, * PALESTINE WILL PAY A VERY HIGH PRICE, and It may soon financially collapse on the ground, after Israel's retaliation, even if, for a short while, it seems more of a real state in the UN.

15 ) gold / phil
03/04/2014 14:06
israel is the black sheep not palestine. may allah save palestine

16 ) Tibi / Tubas
03/04/2014 18:21
Both the Israel PM and Abbas are showing leadership, and
Neither will ever surrender to the others demands, and
the Next set of Leaders will probably the same or worse,
so Obviously A Palestinian State Will Never Be Created !!

17 ) Reality check / #15
03/04/2014 19:00
Ya let Allah save Palestine the way he's helping all the other Arab countries. Hopefully Palestine will look like Syria in a few years so they understand what real ethnic cleansing is and realize they should have made peace with Israel rather than making empty threats.

18 ) Mel / USA
03/04/2014 19:14
Bravo Palestine! Do it! Look at that list of legal bodies that Israel itself arrogantly treats with contempt! As does its host,USG,for the last 1/2 century. Even the USG knows it has to make up its mind whether to rejoin a changing world,recognize,& act in accordance,with Rule of Law,human rights &common civility(long neglected to our national detriment)or go down with Nazi Zionism as guilty by association with Israel's war crimes(not to mention our OWN!).Never negotiate with RACISTS/TERRORISTS!

19 ) Outlier / USA
03/04/2014 19:29
15, Gold, based on the incompetence of the PA leadership, Palestinians will need all the help they can get. It may not be enough, but one never knows.

20 ) Maureen / Australia
04/04/2014 00:00
#14 TobiasMy, my, what an upset Zionist you are! Why the all the shouting, huffing and puffing all because Palestine wishes to join the UN bodies? Stop being an elitist!

21 ) Tibi / Tubas
04/04/2014 02:30
Palestine can go to the UN, but it will get nothing useful, and ISRAEL doesn't need talks, and CAN REFUSE to renew TALKS too, UNLESS THE PLO SURRENDERS THEIR "7 conditions" FANTASIES of: 1. "borders of 1967, 2. release of Palestinian prisoners, 3. Implementing border-crossing, lifting the Gaza siege, 4. return of exiles, 5. Stopping settlement activity in Jerusalem, 6. Allowing reunification of 15,000 Palestinian families, & 7. refraining from entering Palestinian areas.
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