Palestinians Say UN Bid Is Last-Ditch Peace Effort

A Palestinian man holds a flag during a demonstration in support of the Palestinian statehood petition at the U.N. General Assembly near the Damascus gate in Jerusalem's Old City, Nov. 14, 2012.
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On Tuesday, France announced its support, followed on Wednesday by similar pledges from Spain, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland. Germany said it would not support the initiative.

Israel appeared to be backing away from plans to immediately punish the Palestinians for going to the U.N. Instead, an Israeli government official said Israel would wait to see whether the Palestinians would use the world body's expected approval to hurt Israel.

The Palestinians plan to seek membership or access to a number of international and U.N. agencies, including the International Criminal Court, once their statehood bid is approved.

Israel would respond "forcefully" if the Palestinians try to pursue war crimes charges against Israel at the ICC, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss policy considerations. If the Palestinians use their upgraded international status "as a tool to confront Israel in the international arena, there will be a response."

Until then, he said, Israel will be bound by its obligations to the Palestinians under existing peace agreements, but won't necessarily go beyond them. Earlier there was talk of Israel's retaliating by canceling the partial peace accords.

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Associated Press writer Amy Teibel in Jerusalem contributed reporting.

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