Palestinians still 2 votes short for UN resolution

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Palestinian officials said Thursday that their draft resolution setting November 2016 as the deadline for ending Israel's occupation of lands sought for a Palestinian state still doesn't have majority backing in the U.N. Security Council.

The draft is part of a series of Palestinian diplomatic campaigns at the United Nations. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he would present such a resolution to the 15-member Council, but did not give a date. He and his advisers would consider a nine-vote majority in favor of the resolution as a diplomatic victory even though the U.S. is likely to veto and block such a resolution.

The draft resolution is an expression of Palestinian frustration with the repeated failure of U.S.-led negotiations with Israel on the terms of a Palestinian state. The last round broke down in the spring, after nine months of fruitless talks in which the two sides couldn't agree on the ground rules.

The Palestinians want to set up a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967. They have said they are willing to consider small border modifications, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to recognize the pre-1967 line as a basis for negotiations.

The proposed Security Council resolution would set a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal.

On Wednesday evening, Abbas met with senior members of the Palestine Liberation Organization and his Fatah movement in Ramallah to discuss a request by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to put off any Security Council initiative until the beginning of next year, participants said.

Kerry made the request in a meeting with Abbas earlier this week, said senior PLO members Wasel Abu Yousef and Taysir Khaled.

Participants in Wednesday's meeting opposed granting Kerry's request, but no decision was made on when to seek a vote on the resolution. Some said it could be later this month or by mid-November.

Currently, only seven Security Council members would likely vote for the resolution, according to Khaled and Abu Yousef. Khaled said those in favor are Russia, China, Jordan, Chad, Chile, Nigeria and Argentina. He said France and Luxembourg are being courted to reach nine votes.

It is not clear if Abbas would proceed at the Security Council with the needed majority.