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The United Nations and the Palestinian question

By AFP - Nov 28,2012 - Last updated at Nov 28,2012

RAMALLAH — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to submit a formal application to obtain upgraded UN membership as a non-member state to the General Assembly in New York on Thursday.

Here is a timeline of UN actions over the past 65 years since the General Assembly held a vote on November 29, 1947, which brought about the creation of the state of Israel:

— November 29, 1947: The General Assembly adopts Resolution 181, dividing Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, and creating a special international zone for the Jerusalem area. The Jews accept the vote, but the Arabs reject it out of hand.

— May 14, 1948: Israel declares its independence after British mandatory troops pull out, and local clashes flare into an eight-month war with Arab states. At least 400 Palestinian villages in the new Israeli state are destroyed and more than 700,000 people either flee or were forced out, becoming refugees in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and neighbouring Arab countries.

— December 11, 1948: The UN General Assembly adopts Resolution 194 on the right of return, laying down provisions for resolving the problem.

— May 11, 1949: Israel is accepted as a member of the UN.

— November 22, 1967: The Security Council adopts Resolution 242 calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories occupied during the Six Day War of June year, including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The resolution has never been applied.

— December 10, 1969: The General Assembly evokes the “inalienable rights of the Palestinian people”.

— September 25, 1971: The Security Council condemns measures taken by Israel to change the status of Jerusalem.

— October 22, 1973: Security Council Resolution 338 reaffirms the principles of Resolution 242 and calls for negotiations aimed at “a just and durable peace in the Middle East”.

— November 13, 1974: Palestine Liberation Organisation president Yasser Arafat tells the UN he carries “both an olive branch and a gun” after which the world body grants the PLO a seat as an observer entity, which it holds to this day.

— March 1, 1980: UN Security Council Resolution 465 calls on Israel to “dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease... the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem”.

— March 12, 2002: Security Council Resolution 1397 mentions a Palestinian state for the first time.

— November 19, 2003: In Resolution 1515 the Security Council endorses the so-called roadmap peace plan “towards a permanent, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.

— December 16, 2008: The Security Council adopts a resolution, its first in five years, restating its support for the Middle East peace process.

— February 18, 2011: The United States vetoes an Arab-sponsored UN resolution branding Israeli settlements illegal. Washington has traditionally used its veto power in the Security Council to shield the Jewish state from censure.

— September 23: Abbas makes history by submitting an application for the UN to recognise Palestine as a full member state. But the request is never brought to the Security Council following US threats to veto the move.

— October 31: The Palestinians are admitted to the UN cultural agency UNESCO as a full member after a vote in Paris which sparks fierce opposition from Israel and Washington.

— November 29: Exactly 65 years after the General Assembly holds a vote which results in the creation of Israel, Abbas make a fresh bid for upgraded UN status, seeking recognition as a non-member observer state.

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