Nightly News   |  September 18, 2011

Palestinian 'moment of truth?'

Palestinian leaders say 20 years of peace talks have gotten them nowhere which is why they plan to ask for statehood at the United Nations General Assembly this week, despite U.S. opposition. NBC's Martin Fletcher reports.

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>>> there will be high drama here in new york this week as world leaders converge for a meeting of the u.n. general assembly . tonight, u.s. and european diplomats are scrambling to avoid a showdown after the palestinians announced plans to ask for statehood and u.n. membership . more from nbc's martin fletcher .

>> reporter: palestinians call this their moment of truth , bethlehem today kicked off a week of west bank rallies in support of their bid to join the united nations as a full member state , the palestinian dream. flagmakers are working around the clock. this man wants the palestinian flag to hang from every car and house.

>> i'm so happy and excited and at the same time because i want to have a palestinian country to live in and to be free.

>> reporter: about many israelis think no good can come of this.

>> they don't want peace.

>> i think it will be war.

>> reporter: israel and america warned palestinian president mahmoud abbas not to call for palestinian state in the security council .

>> i call on president abbas to resume peace negotiations, direct negotiations, right now without any preconditions.

>> reporter: inspired by people, libya, egypt, tunisia, syria, yemen, palestinians also want change. their leaders say they have no alternative but to try something new, the 20 years of peace talks have gotten them nowhere.

>> we will take all measures to assembly in a way that does not lead into bloodshed.

>> reporter: this puts palestinians into a direct confrontation with the united states . washington has said it wants more peace talks and will veto a call for a palestinian state .

>> our commitment to israel should be no less strong today, and, if anything, it should be stronger than ever.

>> reporter: american negotiators were trying very hard to get israel and the palestinians back to the negotiating table. president obama is ware that any american veto will certainly satisfy israel but would also pit america against most of the rest of the world . martin fletcher , nbc news, tel aviv .