- Israel Main Page
- State of Israel Gives Jews a Homeland
- Israel Expands Its Territory Through War
- Peace Treaty with Egypt Brings Temporary Calm to Mideast
- Jewish Settlements Increase Tension Between Israelis and Palestinians
- Netanyahu Steps Back from Oslo Accord
- Progress Toward Peace Inconsistent
- Violence Between Israelis and Palestinians Reaches New Heights
- Israel Withdraws Settlers from Gaza
- Sharon Forms New Party
- Hamas Dominates Parliamentary Elections
- Israel Criticised for Attacks on Lebanon
- New Hope for Peace as Leaders Return to Bargaining Table
- Violence Flares in Gaza
- Netanyahu Returns to Power; Peace Talks Fall Apart
- Attack on Aid Flotilla Causes International Uproar
- Peace Talks Resume—Briefly
- Unaffordable Housing Costs Cause Mass Protests
- Terrorist Attacks Threaten Peace with Egypt
- The Palestinians Request Membership to UN, Give up on Talks with Israel
- Gilad Shalit Released After More Than Five Years
- Exploratory Talks with Palestine Stall while Tension with Iran Increases
- Report Confirms Suspicions over Iran's Nuclear Program
- Violence Erupts with Hamas in November 2012
- 2013 Election Shows a Slight Move to the Center for Israel
- Netanyahu Maintains Tough Stance against Iran and Peace Talks Resume with Palestine
- 2014 Brings New Military Legislation, Presidential Election, and More Conflict with Palestine
- Netanyahu Makes Controversial Speech to U.S. Congress, Wins 2015 Election, Faces Worst Violence in Years
The Palestinians Request Membership to UN, Give up on Talks with Israel
On Sept. 23, 2011, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas officially requested a bid for statehood at the UN Security Council. The request came after months of failed European and U.S. efforts to bring Israel and Palestine back to the negotiating table. The Palestinian Authority requested a Security Council vote to gain statehood as a full member of the UN rather than going to the General Assembly. One of the reasons for this was that the General Assembly could only give the Palestinian Authority non-member observer status at the UN, a lesser degree of statehood. In addition, the European states in the General Assembly made it clear that they would support the proposal if the Palestinians dropped their demand that Israel halt settlement construction. The Palestinians have long insisted that Israel cease the settlement construction and deemed the condition unacceptable. Therefore, the Palestinian Authority preferred to take its case to the Security Council even though the U.S. has vowed to veto the request.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the United Nation's General Assembly hours after Abbas filed the bid for statehood. Netanyahu disagreed with the Palestinian's proposal for statehood through the UN, urging Abbas to return to negotiating directly with Israel instead. "The truth is the Palestinians want a state without peace," he said.
The following year, on Nov. 29, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly approved an upgrade from the Palestinian Authority's current observer status to that of a non-member state. The vote came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the General Assembly and asked for a "birth certificate" for his country. Of the 193 nations in the General Assembly, 138 voted in favor of the upgrade in status. While the vote was a victory for Palestine, it was a diplomatic setback for the U.S. and Israel. Having the title of "non-member observer state" would allow Palestine access to international organizations such as the International Criminal Court (ICC). If it joined the ICC, Palestine could file complaints of war crimes against Israel.
In response to the UN vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would not transfer about $100 million in much-needed tax revenue owed to the struggling Palestinian Authority and would resume plans to build 3,000-unit settlement in an area that divides the north and the south parts of the West Bank, thereby denying the Palestinians any chance for having a contiguous state.
In Dec. 2012, Israel defied growing opposition from the international community by forging ahead with the building of new settlements. Israel's Housing Ministry approved various new settlements throughout the last month of 2012. Construction on them began immediately. With the exception of the United States, every member of the UN Security Council condemned the construction, concerned that the move threatened the peace process with Palestine.