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Palestinians in Europe expect large UN backing

Nov. 28, 2012 9:04 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 28, 2012 9:04 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- More European countries will support Palestine's bid for upgrading its status at the United Nations on Thursday, the head of a Palestinian union in Europe said Tuesday.

Mazin al-Ramahi, who heads the General Union of Palestinian Communities in Europe, told Ma'an that several other countries would join France in backing the UN bid.

Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark and Austria say they will vote for the upgrade while Britain held back Wednesday, saying it wanted an assurance that Palestine would not pursue Israel in international courts.

Germany said it was opposing the diplomatic upgrade, joining Israel and the United States which say the only genuine route to statehood is via a peace agreement made in direct talks with Israel.

President Mahmoud Abbas is leading the campaign and several European governments are eager to give him their support after an eight-day war this month by Israel on the Gaza Strip.

With overwhelming support from the developing world, Palestine appears certain to earn approval in the 193-member UN General Assembly for a status upgrade to "observer state" on Thursday.

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