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UN to vote on status of Palestine

A vote will be held today on whether to upgrade the United Nations' recognition of Palestine, giving it the status of a non-member observer state.

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has suggested that Britain will abstain unless the Palestinians show a clear commitment to return immediately to peace negotiations without preconditions.

Leila Shahid, the general delegate of Palestine to the European Union, explained to the Today programme's Justin Webb that she feels that more needs to be done to force the Israeli leadership to honour the commitments already made during the past 19 years: "We have been negotiating since Rabin with eight different Israeli prime ministers, and since the arrival of Mr Netanyahu to power four years ago he's been expanding settlements."

Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, explained his view that when the Oslo Agreement was signed, both parties agreed that there were items that were open to further negotiations - and now the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, does not have faith that these items will be negotiated on.

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