The 15-member UN Security Council has begun considering last week’s Palestinian application for full state recognition.
It is a process that’s likely to take several weeks and is seen by many as being certain to fail since the US has vowed to veto the bid.
The Council will met behind closed doors on Monday and will meet again on Wednesday morning.
Palestinians remain positive. They say 20 years of intermittent peace talks have got them nowhere and their bid is aimed at giving them equal diplomatic status with Israel, a full UN member.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the UN, said “We all know in the Security Council this is an exercise in which there will be tremendous pressure by certain number of countries on members of the Security Council. But we trust that we have many friends in the Council.”
Although the application for statehood is seen as doomed to fail, if the Palestinians can secure 9 votes out of 15 – the number needed to pass in the absence of a veto – it would be seen as a moral victory.
If that happened Washington would then be forced to use its veto as it has promised, but that could incite anti-American protests across the Arab world and increase tensions.