United Nations, Jan 30 (Agencies): Palestinians are putting a pressing on the UN Security Council to pass a simmering resolution that they say attacks the "cancer" of Israel's occupied-territory settlements but diplomats see it as targeting of the United States.

Since the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was not mentioned in President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech this week, the Palestinians and others want to know what the US Middle East strategy is.

One diplomat at the UN headquarters said that they feel "abandoned".

The resolution, now before the council's 15 members and waiting for Arab foreign ministers to set the date to press for a vote, condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

That is the policy of the UN, US and most countries in the world, but the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has opposed the resolution, insisting that the peace process remains the "number one" US priority.

Diplomats say the US administration will use its veto privilege as one of five permanent members of the UNSC, keeping up its traditional defense of Israel.

Palestinians have rejected US-brokered talks with Israel since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a settlement moratorium that expired on September 28.

Riyad Mansour, Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, called the thousands of new Israeli homes planned in the occupied territories "a cancer that is overtaking the body of the West Bank."

He highlighted frustration with the US government, the pillar of any peace deal.

The United States should "show leadership by putting their cards on the table as exactly what they want to accomplish in the next nine months," Mansour later told
reporters.

A US veto now would cause problems all around. The United States is part of the diplomatic Quartet, with the United Nations, European Union and Russia, which has set September as a deadline for a framework accord on a Palestinian state.

Obama told the UN General Assembly last September that he believed there could be a new member, Palestine, in a year.

Western diplomats expressed hope that the Arab states will wait until after a Quartet meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Clinton in Munich on February 5 before calling a vote. That meeting could produce some ideas to reassure the Palestinians.