The European Union has said that Palestine is not ready to be recognised as a full state by the UN.
The current holder of the EU presidency, Carl Bildt of Sweden, said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels that conditions were not yet right for Palestinian statehood.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said they had decided to seek recognition of the Palestinian state from the UN because of the failure of recent peace talks.
The proposal is an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital and with June 1967 borders.
Mr Bildt said: “I don’t think we are there yet. I would hope that we would be in a position to recognise a Palestinian state.
“This is clearly an act born of a difficult situation, where they do not see any road ahead.”
He added: “There is a need to look at all the initiatives which might be possible. We are discussing other steps in order to demonstrate our support for the Palestinian aspirations more clearly than we have done before.”