Australian PM Julia Gillard
Australian PM Julia Gillard Reuters

Australia's Labor Caucus has forced Prime Minister Julia Gillard to a compromise on her vote over the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood at the United Nations on Thursday.

When it comes time to vote on the resolution to grant nonmember observer state status to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Gillard said she will have to abstain. Originally, the Australian prime minister had intended to vote “no” on the PA's bid for statehood.

"Gillard had decided to join the United States and a handful of other countries... as a show of support for Israel,” reported the Australian website But sources in Canberra said Gillard was subjected to untold harassment over the issue, and the decision to abstain was made “after a night of emotional and at times heated argument.”

Shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop noted in comments on Thursday that it “would not be helpful” for peace negotiations if the PA's bid at the United Nations General Assembly is successful.

"We believe the parties must return to the negotiating table and seek a two-state solution and that has always been our position,” Bishop said.

Gillard noted that “many had sharply-held different views on the vote.”

The U.N. General Assembly is set to vote on granting the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the umbrella organization which represents the PA Arabs to the world body, upgraded status as a nonmember observer state. Only the Vatican has been granted that status to date, which requires an entity to possess defined geographic boundaries and a functioning, centralized government. The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization have neither.

The Palestinian Authority's final status as a state was to be determined through negotiations with Israel, as mandated by the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords signed by both parties in the early 1990s. Thursday's vote will be a de facto strategy to circumvent that process, and may possibly neutralize or even legally result in a de facto nullification of the Oslo Accords document, some analysts have said.

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