November 27, 2012

Palestinians seek new status

The Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS - The Palestinians said the U.N. General Assembly will vote Thursday on a resolution raising their status at the United Nations from an observer to a nonmember observer state, a move they believe is an important step toward a two-state solution with Israel.

Unlike the Security Council, there are no vetoes in the General Assembly and the resolution is virtually certain of approval.

The world body is dominated by countries sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and the resolution only requires a majority vote for approval. To date, 132 countries -- more than two-thirds of the U.N. member states -- have recognized the state of Palestine.

The Palestinians are seeking to enhance their status because their application in September 2011 to become a full U.N. member state has been blocked. The United States has made clear it would veto the bid until there is a final settlement with Israel.

Israel and the United States are also on record opposing the move for enhanced status, saying the Palestinians should first negotiate their statehood with the Jewish state, not take unilateral action and sidestep talks.

"We do not think that this step is going to bring the Palestinian people any closer to a state," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Monday in Washington.

"We think it is a mistake" Nuland said. "We oppose it."


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