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Palestinians agree merged UN text with France

Palestinian officials say France removes mention of Palestinians recognising Israel as a Jewish state from merged draft
French president Francois Hollande speaks with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas this September (AFP)

The Palestinians and France have agreed on merged text for a draft resolution on ending the Israeli occupation, foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said.

"The draft that will be presented today (Wednesday) is the French draft based on Palestinian observations and decisions," Malki told AFP.

"It will be presented to the Security Council as a blueprint, and could be put to a vote 24 hours after that," he added.

The Palestinians began circulating a draft at the end of September, after President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly that it was time to fast-track Palestinian statehood.

Diplomats said the Arab-backed text setting November 2016 as the deadline for an Israeli withdrawal stood no chance of approval in the face of the threat of a US veto.

France stepped into the fray last month and, with Britain and Germany, began discussing options for a separate resolution setting a timeframe for negotiations on a final settlement.

Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of Abbas's inner circle, said on Tuesday that France had "accommodated" the Palestinians and that delegates were thrashing out a merged text.

The European-backed draft had set a two-year deadline for conclusive peace talks, without touching on the issue of Israel's occupation.

Malki said France had scrapped mention of the thorny issue of Palestinians recognising Israel as a Jewish state from the draft, but gave no further details of its content.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected all notions of a withdrawal from the occupied West Bank or annexed Arab east Jerusalem, citing security concerns.

The reported compromise text came after a flurry of meetings between US Secretary of State John Kerry, Netanyahu, Palestinian negotiators and European ministers.

Washington has wielded its Security Council veto repeatedly in the past in support of its Israeli ally.

The US administration has long insisted that a promised Palestinian state must come through negotiations with Israel. But Palestinians argue that repeated rounds of talks have gone nowhere.

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