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Palestinians considering new U.N. statehood bid

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(JTA) – The Palestinian Authority is considering a bid in September to be a U.N. “non-member observer state.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas is ready to take the step, and has the backing of the Arab League, but has not yet decided when he will go ahead, according to the Associated Press. 

Abbas leans toward waiting until after the U.S. November presidential elections to avoid further straining his relationship with the Obama administration; some members of his inner circle are pushing to move more quickly, according to the report. 

Last year’s PA bid at the U.N. General Assembly’s fall session for full state membership failed. Israel and the United States led the opposition to the effort, saying it would destabilize the peace process and that the PA should return to negotiations with Israel instead of engaging in such unilateral maneuvers. 

The Arab League last month gave Abbas its backing for a new General Assembly bid, but did not specifically approve its timing. 

An internal Palestinian document noted that the negative repercussions from the move could include the United States closing the PLO mission in Washington, suspending millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians or withholding contributions to U.N. agencies the Palestinians try to join, according to the AP.

Meanwhile, the document reportedly added, possible Israeli reactions could include canceling interim peace deals, annexing parts of the West Bank or increasing restrictions on Palestinian trade and movement.

Yigal Palmer, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said his country is aware of the Palestinian intentions but he would not comment on possible Israeli responses.

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