RAMALLAH, West Bank The Palestinian president is moving forward with his plan to seek upgraded observer status at the United Nations next month, despite American and Israeli threats of financial or diplomatic retaliation, officials said Sunday. The decision sets the stage for a new showdown between Israel and the Palestinians at the world body, following last year's attempt by the Palestinians to seek status as a full member state. Although that initiative failed to pass the U.N. Security Council, it caused months of diplomatic tensions with Israel. Palestinians To Seek UN Recognition In November "We will go to the U.N. regardless of any threats," said Tawfik Tirawi, a senior member of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement. "I expect the Israelis to take punitive measures against us, if we win this status, but this is our choice and we will not retract it." This year, the Palestinians are seeking "nonmember state" status in the U.N. General Assembly, where passage is assured. The 193-member assembly is dominated by developing nations sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Officials say they are looking for what they call a "quality" majority that includes European countries as well, though Germany and Britain, for instance, have been cool to the Palestinian plan. While upgraded status would not change the situation on the ground, the Palestinians say the move is still significant. They will ask for international recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.