Palestinian school children walk in the rubble left days after an Israeli strike destroyed the Hamas interior ministry in Gaza City, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012.
Palestinian school children walk in the rubble left days after an Israeli strike destroyed the Hamas interior ministry in Gaza City, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. Israel launched its offensive on Nov. 14 in a bid to halt months of Palestinian rocket attacks. It says it inflicted heavy damage on Gaza militants, but the territory's armed groups fired hundreds of rockets into Israel before a cease-fire was declared Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012.(AP Photo/Adel Hana) (Adel Hana)

PARIS - The French foreign minister says France plans to vote in favor of recognition of a Palestinian state at the U.N. General Assembly this week.

Laurent Fabius has told parliament that France has long supported Palestinian ambitions for statehood and "will respond `yes"' when the issue comes up for a vote "out of a concern for coherency."

With the announcement Tuesday, France - a permanent member of the Security Council - becomes the first major European country to come out in favor. It amounts to a setback for Israel.

The Palestinians say the assembly is likely to vote Thursday on a resolution raising their status at the United Nations from an observer to a nonmember observer state, a move they believe is an important step toward a two-state solution with Israel.



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