Palestinian state proposed | Palestine Officially Requests Membership to UN
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- Abbas Under Fire
- Palestinian Factions Sign Historic Reconciliation Accord
- Palestine Officially Requests Membership to UN
- Progress for UN Memberships Stalls
- Exploratory Talks with Israel End while Unity Government with Hamas Moves Forward
- Palestinian Authority Marks 19th Oslo Accords Anniversary with Economic Troubles
- Violence Erupts Between Israel and Gaza in November 2012
- UN Approves Non-Member State Status
- Egypt Attempts to Get Hamas and Fatah to Reconcile
- Rami Hamdallah Becomes Prime Minister
- Peace Talks Resume After Five Years
- 2013 Report Supports Theory That Arafat Was Poisoned
- New Unity Government Includes Hamas
- Murders of Israeli and Palestinian Teenagers Increases Tension
- Britain Votes to Recognize Palestine
- Palestine Asks to Join the International Criminal Court
- More Obstacles Emerge for Palestine in 2015
Palestine Officially Requests Membership to UN
On May 16, the New York Times published an opinion piece written by Mahmoud Abbas. He stated that at the Sept. 2011 United Nations General Assembly, Palestine will request international recognition based on the 1967 border. The State of Palestine will also request full membership to the UN. He wrote that negotiations remained the Palestinians' first option, but "due to their failure we are now compelled to turn to the international community to assist us in preserving the opportunity for a peaceful and just end to the conflict."
On Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas officially requested a bid for statehood at the United Nations Security Council. The request came after months of failed European and U.S. efforts to bring Israel and Palestine back to the negotiating table. Abbas followed up the request with a speech to the General Assembly in which he said, "I do not believe anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for full admission in the United Nations."
The Palestinian Authority is pursuing 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 is that the General Assembly can 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 have made it clear that they will support the proposal if the Palestinians drop 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 prefers to take its case to the Security Council even though the U.S. has vowed to veto the request.
Abbas's application to the UN Security Council is historic. It is a response to years of frustration with the stalled peace talks. The Security Council will most likely begin to examine the proposal next week while the U.S. and its allies work to stall it. Only time will tell if the bid helps make real progress in negotiations with Israel or becomes counterproductive. Patience meanwhile has grown very thin in Palestine as other countries in the region continue to overthrow old governments and attempt to forge ahead with new ones. While diplomats debate at the UN in September 2011, thousands of Palestinians rallied for statehood in Ramallah, home of the Palestinian government.
In Oct., Israel and Hamas reached a deal in which Gilad Shalit, a 25-five year old Israeli soldier who had been held in Gaza since Hamas militants kidnapped him during a cross-boarder raid in 2006, was released in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinians who have spent years in Israeli jails. Israel and Hamas had made several fruitless attempts to negotiate such a deal. There were mixed reactions on both sides, with the Israelis thrilled about Shalit's release but upset by his frail appearance. The Palestinians accused Israel of torturing their prisoners and vowed to take more hostages. Israel also feared that the released prisoners would resume attacks on Israel. Some observers speculated that the compromise will help further the peace process. Others suggested that neither Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Hamas had enough support—or the willingness— to return to the bargaining table.