Map of countries that will support Palestine's UN bid for statehood
Palestinians have been fighting for their own sovereign state on the West Bank and Gaza since their occupation by Israel in 1967. Peace talks and negotiations have been running for decades but a solution to satisfy both parties has never been found. In a shift last year, Palestine started asking countries to recognise an independent state based on 1967 borders. To date it has only had observer status at the UN but now Mr Abbas is asking for admission as a full member state. Significantly this could give the region access to the International Criminal Court where they could challenge the Israeli occupation.
How does the application work?
Mr Abbas has submitted a written application to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon for approval. If this is granted, the UN Security Council will then look at the application and pass a vote. Palestine will need nine of 15 council members to support their move - and crucially no vetoes from permanent members. China, France, Russia, the UK and the US are all permanent members who enjoy this right of veto. The 10 non-permanent members, who sit for two-year terms, are currently Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Portugal, Brazil, India, South Africa, Colombia, Lebanon, Gabon and Nigeria.
On approval by the Security Council, the application would then need a majority of two-thirds in the General Assembly to stand. However, US President Barack Obama has already declared he will use his veto, which means it is unlikely to reach this stage.

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