West Bank-Where over 500,000 Jews now reside-Removes protest camps of Palestine people-US will not back Israel-US tries to tell them how to run their own affairs
The Israeli decision to build settler homes in the E1 area came after the UN General Assembly voted in late November to upgrade Palestine's "permanent observer" status at the world body to that of a "non-member observer state" despite stiff opposition from the United States and Israel. Incidentally, the US veto power at the UN is limited to the UN Security Council (UNSC).
In addition to announcing the building of several new Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank after the UN General assembly vote, Israel also suspended the transfer of tax revenues from the occupied territory to the Palestinian Authority.
The United States urged Israel to "reconsider" its decision, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the Israeli decision as a counter-productive move that would undermine the ongoing international efforts to restart the currently dead-locked Middle East peace process. She also criticized the Palestinians for seeking enhanced UN status, and reaffirmed continued US support for Israel.
The elevated status of a "non-member observer state" allows the Palestinians to participate in debates at the UN But it does not provide an automatic entry into UN agencies or provide any guarantees in that regard. However, outcome of the UN vote amounts to an implicit recognition of Palestinian statehood.
Although the PA made a formal request with the UNSC in September 2011 seeking full membership for a Palestine State with pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, the bid failed to get enough votes in the 15-member Council and was subsequently dropped. However, Palestine was later admitted as a member-state to the UNESCO despite objections from Israel and the US.
Palestinians believe that the non-member observer state status would eventually lead to Palestine's recognition as a UN Member-State. Such a development would allow them to haul Israel to the International Criminal Court and other international forums over issues relating to the 2008 invasion of the Gaza Strip as well as building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Currently, the US-mediated peace talks are deadlocked over Israel's refusal to extend a construction freeze in the West Bank after its expiry on September 26, 2010. Palestinians insist they will return to direct peace talks only if Israel stops settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel has settled about 500,000 Jews in more than 100 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the 1967 Six-Day War. However, its annexation of the captured area is not recognized by the international community, which considers building settlements in the occupied land as illegal.