- Clinton says only negotiations will lead to a two-state solution
- New resolution aims to raise Palestinian status to non-member observer
- Several European countries back effort, but U.S., UK and Israel do not
- Palestinians lost statehood effort in 2011 when proposition failed Security Council vote
Palestinian leaders, using a new strategy, will return Thursday to the U.N. General Assembly in their latest bid to garner enhanced international recognition.
After its failed bid to win United Nations recognition as an independent state, the Palestinian Authority is seeking non-member observer state status, one step up from its current status as a permanent observer.
Palestinian Authority leaders have been working with dozens of supporting nations to put together the wording of a formal draft of a resolution. Among those on board are Norway, Spain, Denmark, Iceland, France and Switzerland.
The United States and the United Kingdom oppose the effort, arguing that the only real solution to the conflict will come when Palestinians and Israelis return to the bargaining table.
"I have said many times that the path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, and not New York," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
Germany said it will abstain from the vote.
The renewed effort comes a year after a more ambitious full statehood bid died because it would not get a majority of votes on the Security Council.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told supporters in Ramallah in the West Bank that the resolution, which many observers call symbolic, "is the first step to achieve all our national Palestinian rights."
If approved, the new status would place the Palestinians in the same category as the Vatican.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev called the move "political theater."
"The Palestinians can get a piece of paper from the United Nations, but they are not going to get a state because Palestinian statehood can only be achieved through negotiations with Israel," Regev said.
Palestinian leaders argue they have the right to go to the U.N. because Israel failed to comply with agreements it signed more than 20 years ago. The last round of negotiations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority was in 2010.
"It's about a contract. Our contract is that in five years we should have concluded the treaty of peace and all core issues. This did not happen, and we're talking about 20 years later. And going to the U.N. is not a unilateral step," Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said in September.
The new status would eliminate Israeli justifications for building settlements in the disputed areas of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to Erakat.