Supporters erect large Palestinian flag outside EU

Belgium EU Palestinian Statehood

People pose next to a four-story high Palestinian flag which flies in front of the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011. The

Belgium EU Palestinian Statehood

A four-story high Palestinian flag flies in front of the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011. The global campaigning organi

Belgium EU Palestinian Statehood

A four-story high Palestinian flag flies in front of the European Commission building in Brussels, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011. The global campaigning org

Activists erected a large Palestinian flag Monday near European Union headquarters in Brussels in an effort to encourage the union to unanimously recognize Palestinian statehood at an expected vote at the United Nations later this year.
The flag was about four stories tall and on it was written "913,171 people say: EU: RECOGNISE PALESTINE!" _ a reference to the number of signatures that Avaaz, the organization behind the display, said it had gathered.
Avaaz also released a survey Monday by the British polling company YouGov showing that immediate recognition of statehood is supported by 76 percent of Germans, 59 percent of Britons, and 69 percent of the French.
"The European people have given their leaders a clear mandate," said Alice Jay, of Avaaz. The United States-based group campaigns on various issues, from promoting democracy to fighting poverty, corruption and climate change.
With peace talks deadlocked, the Palestinians are instead asking the U.N. to admit them as a member. They are expected to submit the request later this month, though a date for the vote has not been set.
The vote is expected to take place in the U.N. General Assembly. A decision there will be largely symbolic, but the Palestinians believe a strong international endorsement will boost their position in future talks. Both Israel, and its key ally, the United States, oppose the Palestinian bid at the U.N.
There has, however, been some talk of asking the U.N. Security Council to admit Palestine as a full member, an option the EU wants to discourage.
In any event, EU leaders have said they cannot take a position on a resolution for which there is as yet no text, and the outstanding differences between Palestinians and Israelis must be resolved by negotiations.
But Jay said U.N. recognition would induce Israel to resume negotiations.
"No one is of the opinion that this is the endgame," she said of the vote.
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