Palestinian seeks to upgrade UN status
Palestinian leaders in the West Bank will ask the United Nations to upgrade its status by the end of the month.
The request to admit Palestine as a "non-member observer state" is being made despite US and Israeli opposition.
A senior Palestinian official said the "UN train had left the station" and that there would be no turning back.
No threat of veto
Being a non-member observer state - a status already held by the Vatican - would improve the Palestinians' chances of joining UN agencies and the International Criminal Court, although the process would be neither automatic nor guaranteed.
The request would be put to the UN General Assembly, where approval would require a simple majority of those present.
There is no threat of veto, as there would be at the Security Council if the Palestinians sought full member-state status.
Currently, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), the umbrella group which represents most Palestinian factions and conducts negotiations with Israel, only has "permanent observer" status at the UN.
The chairman of the PLO and Palestinian Authority President, Mr Mahmoud Abbas wants Palestine to be admitted as a non-member observer state based on the boundaries which existed before Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 war.
On Monday, a senior Palestinian official, Mohammed Shtayyah, said Mr Abbas would submit a resolution to the General Assembly no later than 29 November. A draft copy was sent to member states on Wednesday.
The BBC reports that the Palestinian request is likely to be approved.
However, Israel and the United States have threatened financial penalties if the Palestinians press ahead with the UN bid.
They said the only way to achieve an independent state is through negotiations.
Mr Shtayyah said President Abbas had discussed the UN bid with President Barack Obama by telephone on Sunday, but that the US leader had offered nothing that would stop him from submitting a resolution.
The White House said President Obama had reiterated his "opposition to unilateral efforts at the United Nations" and "reaffirmed his commitment to Middle East peace and his strong support for direct negotiations".
Palestinian officials say the UN move is not an alternative to wider negotiations but something that could strengthen their hand in future talks.
Mr Shtayyah said there would be no return to direct talks unless there was a complete freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. US-led negotiations collapsed in 2010 over the issue.
The BBC reports that the situation is further complicated because President Abbas does not speak for all Palestinians.
The rival Islamist group Hamas, which governs in Gaza says the UN approach is a waste of time.
A Palestinian bid to join the international body as a full member state in 2011 failed because of a lack of support at the UN Security Council.