Palestinian state proposed | UN Approves Non-Member State Status
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- UN Approves Non-Member State Status
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- More Obstacles Emerge for Palestine in 2015
UN Approves Non-Member State Status
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 they joined the ICC, Palestine could file complaints of war crimes against Israel. After the vote, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki spoke in a press conference about working with the ICC and other organizations. He said, "As long as the Israelis are not committing atrocities, are not building settlements, are not violating international law, then we don't see any reason to go anywhere. If the Israelis continue with such policy - aggression, settlements, assassinations, attacks, confiscations, building walls - violating international law, then we have no other remedy but really to knock those to other places."
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 United Nations Security Council condemned the construction, concerned that the move threatened the peace process with Palestine. At his year-end news conference, Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, said, "This gravely threatens efforts to establish a viable Palestinian state. I call on Israel to refrain from continuing on this dangerous path, which will undermine the prospects for a resumption of dialogue and a peaceful future for Palestinians and Israelis alike. Let us get the peace process back on track before it is too late."