United Nations Vote on Palestinian Statehood

On September 23, 2011, Palestinian Authority (PA) President and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application to the United Nations (UN) for the recognition of Palestine as a full member state. At the time of the application, the PLO held observer status at the UN. By applying for full membership, Abbas was seeking symbolic recognition of Palestine within the 1967 borders (Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem) and the ability to join various UN agencies and international treaties. Proponents saw this move as a strategic avenue for the Palestinians to challenge Israel’s military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories and to demonstrate widespread international support for Palestinian statehood. Opponents decried the bid as bypassing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Palestinian opposition viewed the bid as a way for Abbas to distract from internal political divisions and issues. In response to the pursuit of the bid, the United States and Israel withheld funding to the PA. UNESCO accepted Palestine as a full member on October 31, 2011 resulting in the US pulling its funding from the UN agency. In December 2014, Palestine bought a resolution to the U.N. Security Council that called for a full end of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Palestinian statehood by 2017. The resolution was rejected by a narrow margin, though the U.S. would have likely used its veto power had the resolution passed. In January 2015, Palestine acceded to the International Criminal Court. See "Q&A: Palestinians' upgraded UN status," BBC News, Nov 30, 2012; and "Palestinian statehood resolution fails at U.N council, U.S. votes against," Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, Dec 31, 2014.

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