Middle East

Palestinians Ask For U.N. Independence Endorsement Even If Negotiations Restart

July 27: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting of the Central Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

July 27: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting of the Central Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in the West Bank city of Ramallah.  (AP2011)

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- The Palestinian president says he will ask the United Nations to endorse Palestinian independence in September even if negotiations restart with Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas' statement Wednesday signaled a hardening of his position. Previously, he had said he would turn to the U.N. only if peace talks remain deadlocked.
Negotiations have been stalled for nearly three years, and U.S. diplomats have been trying to revive the talks.
Abbas' comments to Palestinian officials in the West Bank city of Ramallah indicate he is preparing for a confrontation with Israel and the U.S.
The two countries oppose the U.N. move, saying disputes should be resolved through negotiations. The Palestinians acknowledge a U.N. vote would be largely symbolic, but believe it would send a message to Israel.