RAMALLAH - The Palestinians will submit a bid to the General Assembly for non-state membership of the United Nations later this month, president Mahmud Abbas said on Sunday. "We're going to the United Nations in November 2012, not 2013, or 2014," Abbas said at an event commemorating the eighth anniversary of the death of former president Yasser Arafat. Palestinian envoys to the United Nations on Thursday unveiled the resolution they plan to submit to the General Assembly seeking observer status. The resolution would call on the assembly to accord observer membership and urge the 15-nation UN Security Council to "consider favourably" an application Abbas made for full membership last year.

With direct peace talks on hold for more than two years, the Palestinians have sought to push for their long-promised state in other ways, in particular by upgrading their status at the UN. They tried last year to obtain full membership at the United Nations through the Security Council, but the bid stalled over the opposition of the United States, a council permanent member and veto holder. This year, the Palestinians said they would instead seek enhanced status at the General Assembly, where no one member can block a resolution, and they are expected to easily win sufficient support. Abbas gave no date for the resolution's submission on Sunday, but officials have floated the dates of either November 15 or 29. The move is fiercely opposed by Israel, and Israeli ministers have reportedly already met to discuss potential sanctions against the Palestinians if they proceed with the bid. Among the responses reportedly being weighed is a plan to suspend the transfer of tax and tariff funds collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.