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The same applies to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority has virtually no influence in the 25-mile-long (40-km-long) coastal enclave where 1.6 million Palestinians live.
WILL ISRAEL AND THE UNITED STATES RETALIATE?
The United States and Israel oppose the Palestinian move, saying direct peace talks are the only way to achieve statehood.
Israel has threatened the Palestinians with retaliation for seeking a U.N. status upgrade. It has suggested that it could withhold some taxes and customs duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
But in the wake of the latest Gaza conflict, Israel seems reluctant to reveal itself as diplomatically isolated. It has toned down threats of retaliation in the face of wide international support for the initiative, notably among its European allies.
Israel may opt for harsh retaliation if the Palestinians file complaints against the Jewish state at the ICC, which U.N. diplomats say is Israel’s main concern at the moment.
The United States has also threatened to withhold financial aid to the Palestinians. If they join any specialized U.N. agencies, Congress will likely seek to cut off U.S. funding to those agencies in accordance with U.S. law.
The United States, which pays 22 percent of the regular U.N. budget, is the biggest financial contributor to the world body.
WHAT ABOUT PEACE TALKS?
Abbas has said he will be ready to revive moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace talks as soon as the U.N. vote is over. That suggests he is prepared to drop a pre-condition that all Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem should be halted before negotiations can resume.
While a number of EU states have applauded this shift in stance, Israel and the United States say that the Palestinian U.N. move will undermine efforts to revive the talks.
The Middle East peace process has been stalled for two years, mainly over Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which have expanded despite being deemed illegal by most of the world.
Many Western diplomats complain about the timing of the Palestinian move, which comes weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama’s re-election. They say the Palestinians have not given Obama time to push for new peace talks with Israel.
But the diplomats also say that the Palestinian move is no excuse to scrap peace talks. The resolution calls for an immediate resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.