The Palestinians could also gain access to U.N. agencies and international bodies, most significantly the International Criminal Court, which could become a springboard for going after Israel for alleged war crimes or its ongoing settlement building on war-won land.
However, Abbas has signaled that he wants recognition to give him leverage in future talks with Israel, not as a tool for confronting or delegitimizing Israel, as Israeli leaders have alleged. He told the U.N. on Thursday that the Palestinians will "behave in a responsible and positive ways in our next steps."
Palestinian technical teams have studied the laws of all U.N. agencies and put together recommendations for Abbas, said a Palestinian official involved in the effort. He said Abbas told the experts there is no rush, and the next Palestinian moves would in part depend on international reaction, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose internal deliberations.
Most immediately, the Palestinian Authority, which relies heavily on foreign aid and is struggling with the worst cash crisis in its 18-year history, could face further funding cuts over the U.N. bid.
In Washington, a bipartisan group of senators warned the Palestinians they could lose U.S. financial support of millions of dollars a year and risk the shutdown of their Washington office if they use their enhanced U.N. status against Israel
Israel could also suspend the monthly transfer of millions of dollars in tax rebates it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, a punitive step it has taken in the past.
In recent months, the Palestinian Authority has been struggling to cover its public sector payroll, paying salaries in installments.
Mahmoud Khamis, a civil servant from the West Bank village of Deir Jareer, said he is willing to bear the negative consequences of U.N. recognition, including further disruptions in getting his salary. "It's good to have that state recognized, for the people of the world to hear our voice and know our cause," he said.
Associated Press writer Dalia Nammari in Ramallah, West Bank, and Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City contributed reporting.