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UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations General Assembly could vote on Friday on a draft resolution that would recognize the Palestinians as qualified to become a full UN member and recommend that the UN Security Council “reconsider the matter favorably.”

It would effectively act as a global survey of how much support the Palestinians have for their bid, which was vetoed in the UN Security Council last month by the United States. An application to become a full UN member needs to be approved by the 15-member Security Council and then the General Assembly.

Diplomats say the 193-member General Assembly is likely to back the Palestinian bid. But changes could still be made to the draft after some diplomats raised concerns with the current text, seen by Reuters, that also grants additional rights and privileges — short of full membership — to the Palestinians.

Some diplomats say this could set a precedent for other situations, citing Kosovo and Taiwan as examples.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan on Monday denounced the current draft General Assembly resolution, saying it would give the Palestinians the de facto status and rights of a state and goes against the founding UN Charter.

“If it is approved, I expect the United States to completely stop funding the UN and its institutions, in accordance with American law,” said Erdan, adding that adoption by the General Assembly would not change anything on the ground.

US CONCERNS

Under US law, Washington cannot fund any UN organization that grants full membership to any group that does not have the “internationally recognized attributes” of statehood. The US halted funding in 2011 for the UN cultural agency (UNESCO)after the Palestinians became a full member.

“It remains the US view that the path toward statehood for the Palestinian people is through direct negotiations,” said Nate Evans, spokesperson for the US mission to the UN

“We are aware of the resolution and reiterate our concerns with any effort to extend certain benefits to entities when there are unresolved questions as to whether the Palestinians currently meet the criteria under the Charter,” he said.

The Palestinians are currently a non-member observer state, a de facto recognition of statehood that was granted by the UN General Assembly in 2012. The Palestinian mission to the UN in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its push for action in the General Assembly.

The Palestinian push for full UN membership comes seven months into a war between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and as Israel is expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank, which the UN considers to be illegal. The United Nations has long endorsed a vision of two states living side by side within secure and recognized borders.

Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, all territory captured by Israel in 1967.

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