Ma'an News Agency
June 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's foreign ministry estimates under two-thirds of UN member states will recognize a Palestinian state declared in September, and is launching a campaign to keep the number down, Israel Radio reported Thursday.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed his department to survey the 192 countries in the United Nations, and send Israeli parliamentarians to nations who are yet undecided, the broadcast noted. The study said 118 nations would support the bid.

On Wednesday, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon denied that there was any Israeli move to undermine Palestinian diplomatic efforts to gain recognition, in an interview with Ma'an television.

However, Ayalon told Israel Radio on Wednesday that trends of mass diplomatic recognition of a Palestinian state had been stemmed.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton spoke cautiously about the EU's stance on the bid in an interview with Israeli daily Haaretz published Thursday.

"It will depend very much on what the resolution says as to how the international community in general and the EU in particular, votes," Ashton said.

However, she added "It's quite possible that that there could be a vote at the UN where the European Union has no difficulty in voting for that."

Dozens of nations, particularly in Latin America and Europe, recognized a Palestinian independent state or upgraded Palestinian diplomatic missions on a par with other states in the last year.

Israel's foreign ministry said that internal disagreements in the Palestinian Authority are intensifying over the UN statehood bid over fears that the US will remove financial support as a consequence, Israel Radio said.

Palestinian leaders have pledged to go to the UN in September to seek full member status and recognition of a Palestinian state on pre-1967 borders, including the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, while negotiations with Israel remain stuck, after the country reused to extend a freeze on building illegal settlements in September 2010.


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