JERUSALEM -- A Palestinian official in the West Bank said Friday that the distribution of a draft resolution at the United Nations headquarters in New York a day earlier was the "first big step" toward a vote this month on enhancing the Palestinians' status in the General Assembly.
The distribution of the draft to all 193 member states is the first practical act in an effort likely to set the Palestinians on a collision course with Israel.
The United States and Israel have strongly opposed the Palestinians' plans to gain international recognition for their claim to a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and to upgrade their status to that of a nonmember observer state in the United Nations system.
Although close to 130 countries have expressed support for the move, according to the Palestinians, the Palestinian leadership has come under heavy diplomatic pressure to postpone it, to give a second-term Obama administration some time and flexibility and to await the outcome of Israeli elections scheduled for January.
But the Palestinian official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicate diplomacy under way, said, "We do not see any reason to delay it," adding that the Palestinians had been waiting for statehood for decades.
Last year, the Palestinians submitted an application to the Security Council to become a full member state of the United Nations, but the United States made it clear it would veto approval for the request. It became bogged down in committee and has not come to a vote. In the General Assembly, where resolutions are nonbinding, there are no veto powers.
The draft resolution "reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their state of Palestine on the basis of the pre-1967 borders," according to the Palestinian official who is familiar with the document. He said it also expresses "the urgent need for the resumption and acceleration of negotiations within the Middle East peace process" and states that the permanent borders of a Palestinian state are "to be determined in final status negotiations."
The official said that friendly countries, including some in Europe, had advised the Palestinians to emphasize the need for negotiations, presumably to try to undercut the argument made by Israel and some major international players, including Britain, that unilateral actions like this are detrimental to efforts for a two-state solution that can be achieved only through peace talks.
Israel rejects the Palestinian assertion that the resolution does not conflict with a return to negotiations.
"We are trying to make the case with all United Nations members that this vote is not what it seems," said Yigal Palmor, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman. "It is not a vote for Palestinian reconciliation with Israel but for a continuation of the confrontation with Israel by other means."
Mr. Palmor said that Israel was ready for negotiations at any time but that the Palestinians had set preconditions. He said that enshrining outlines for negotiations in a United Nations resolution was problematic. The Palestinians, he added, would use any enhanced status to try to join additional United Nations organizations as well as other international bodies like the International Criminal Court, where they could attempt to sue Israel for activities like settlement building.
In an opinion article on The New York Times's Op-Ed page last year, the Palestinian Authority's president, Mahmoud Abbas, wrote: "Palestine's admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice."
This time the Palestinians have been more circumspect, stating more vaguely in a recent official document that enhanced status will "enable Palestine to better use the U.N. and other international forums to advance its just cause for freedom and independence" and help the Palestinians "to reinforce the international position that does not recognize Israel's occupation and practices of colonization and annexation as legitimate."
The Palestinians are now waiting for feedback on the draft resolution before setting a date for a vote, most likely on Nov. 29, the 65th anniversary of the United Nations vote to partition the territory of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.
This week, Palestinian leaders fanned out across Europe to drum up support for the motion. Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was meeting in Vienna on Friday with Israel's ambassadors to more than two dozen European countries to coordinate the campaign against the Palestinian request.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.