Palestinians say UN bid is last-ditch peace effort - Yahoo! News RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) A bid for U.N. recognition of a state of Palestine is a last-ditch attempt to rescue troubled Mideast peace efforts, a Palestinian spokeswoman said Wednesday, rejecting Israel's charge that it is an attempt to bypass negotiations. Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, urged the U.S. to drop its opposition to the bid, dismissing Washington's stance as "pathetic" and harmful to American interests in the region. The Palestinians have come under intense pressure from the U.S., Britain and others to modify the bid but "have not succumbed," she said. On Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas plans to ask the U.N. General Assembly to recognize Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but still controls most access. The Palestinians expect some two-thirds of the General Assembly's 193 members will accept Palestine as a non-member observer state. The U.S., Israel, Canada and a few others are opposed. The vote will not change the situation on the ground, yet the Palestinians still say it is significant. Abbas has said U.N. recognition is not meant to replace negotiations with Israel, but to improve Palestinian leverage and secure the pre-1967 war frontiers as the baseline for future border talks an idea Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected. This does not mean the U.N. vote will pave the way for a quick resumption of talks, which broke down four years ago. Abbas has said he will not negotiate as long as Israel keeps expanding settlements on war-won land. Half a million Israelis now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, blurring the 1967 lines.