U.N. approves Palestinian "observer state" bid - CNN.com York (CNN) -- The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday endorsed an upgraded U.N. status for the Palestinian Authority, despite intense opposition from the United States and Israel. The resolution elevates their status from "non-member observer entity" to "non-member observer state," the same category as the Vatican, which Palestinians hope will provide new leverage in their dealings with Israel. Its leaders had been working with dozens of supporting nations to develop a formal draft, enlisting the backing of European countries such as France and Spain. 138 delegates voted in favor of the measure, while nine voted against. There were 41 abstentions, including Germany.