Britain is ready to back calls at the United Nations for recognition of a Palestinian state if it gives a commitment to an immediate and unconditional return to the negotiating table with Israel, Foreign Secretary William Hague said today.
In a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Hague said he would also be seeking an assurance that the Palestinians would not seek to extend the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over the occupied territories.
"Up until the time of the vote itself, we will remain open to voting in favour of the resolution if we see public assurances by the Palestinians on these points.
But he added: "In the absence of these assurances, the United Kingdom would abstain on the vote."
Britain today summoned the Israeli ambassador amid deepening international anger at fresh Israeli settlement expansion plans.
The Foreign Office does not deny reports that that Britain and France are considering withdrawing their ambassadors from Israel.
Israel's response to the Palestinians' crushing diplomatic victory at the United Nations late last night is provocative.