Abbas, an outspoken critic of violence, has governed in the West Bank since Hamas overthrew his forces in Gaza in 2007. The rival governments repeatedly have failed to reconcile.
After four years of deadlock in peace efforts with Israel, Abbas this week is asking the United Nations to grant the Palestinians upgraded observer status and recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. The motion, largely symbolic, is expected to pass easily in the U.N. General Assembly.
In a statement, Hamas announced that its supreme leader, Khaled Mashaal, called Abbas to welcome the decision to go to the U.N.
Israeli officials — backed by the Obama administration — strongly oppose the move in the belief it is an attempt to bypass negotiations, but they have not said how they will respond.
Associated Press writers Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, and Mohammed Daraghmeh in Cairo contributed to this report.
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