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Palestinians to seek UN recognition

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian president is moving forward with his plan to seek upgraded observer status at the United Nations next month, despite American and Israeli threats of financial or diplomatic retaliation, officials said Sunday.

The decision sets the stage for a new showdown at the UN between Israel and the Palestinians after last year’s attempt by the Palestinians to seek status as a full member state. Although that initiative failed to pass the UN Security Council, it caused months of diplomatic tensions with Israel.

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“We will go to the UN regardless of any threats,’’ said Tawfik Tirawi, a senior member of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement. ‘‘I expect the Israelis to take punitive measures against us, if we win this status, but this is our choice and we will not retract it.’’

This year, the Palestinians are seeking ‘‘nonmember state’’ status in the UN General Assembly, where passage is assured. The 193-member assembly is dominated by developing nations sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Officials say they are looking for what they call a ‘‘quality’’ majority that includes European countries as well.

While upgraded status would not change the situation on the ground, the Palestinians say the move is significant. They will ask for international recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.

They believe the UN vote would then require Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines or face international legal action. Israel rejects a full return to those lines, and says the borders between Israel and a future Palestine must be reached through direct negotiations.

The Palestinians also hope to use upgraded status to join additional UN bodies.

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