Palestinians seek historic state backing at U.N.

 
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) shakes hands with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the U.N. headquarters in New York November 28, 2012. (Reuters)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) shakes hands with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the U.N. headquarters in New York November 28, 2012. (Reuters)
 
By AL ARABIYA WITH AGENCIES
 
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas will head to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday with huge backing for his bid for upgraded diplomatic status despite strong U.S. and Israeli opposition.
 
Abbas will ask for the Palestinians to be recognized as a U.N. “non-member observer state” and indicate his conditions for talks with Israel in a key speech to the 193-member assembly, set to convene at 3:00 pm (2000 GMT).
 
The Palestinians say 132 countries recognize their state bilaterally, but some of those are expected to abstain while many European nations are expected to vote in favor even though they have not recognized a Palestinian state.
 
Thursday’s motion requires a simple majority of those members present and voting in order to pass, and the bid is widely expected to be approved.
 
The Palestinian leadership is determined to make the 65th anniversary of a U.N. resolution on the division of Palestinian territory a “historic” landmark in their quest for an independent state.
 
The United States, a staunch ally of Israel, has launched an aggressive campaign against the bid, warning that the vote will do nothing to improve the prospects for new peace talks aimed at ending the decades-long conflict.
 

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