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Obama, Abbas shake hands 311.(Photo by: Associated Press)
US upgrades PA diplomatic recognition
New title allows display of flag and gives employees social benefits.
The US State Department announced that the diplomatic recognition of the Palestinian Authority in the US will be upgraded to the status of "delegation general" Israel Radio reported Friday.

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This will allow the Palestinian envoys in Washington to display the Palestinian flag and provide social benefits for their employees.

Palestinian representative to the US in Washington Maen Areikat said that the step equates Palestinian diplomatic status in the US to that of Canada and many other countries in western Europe.

Officials in Jerusalem have not responded officially to the US decision. Senior officials at the Prime Minister's Office said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was aware of the decision in advance and that the move was apparently intended to strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem have expressed some disappointment that the US government has not emphasized the end of Palestinian incitement towards Israel.

According to Israel Radio, France has also upgraded its diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority in Paris from "delegation general" to "ambassador."
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