In a statement on the Foreign Ministry's website, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle explained why Germany is choosing to abstain.

"Germany will abstain in today’s vote in the U.N. General Assembly on upgrading the Palestinian Authority’s status from observer entity to observer state.

This was not a decision we took lightly. Germany, too, supports the creation of a Palestinian state. In recent years, we have worked toward this end in many different ways, particularly by providing comprehensive support for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority’s government structures. As a result, visible progress has been made in a number of areas.

However, the decisive steps toward genuine statehood can only be taken if Israelis and Palestinians engage in negotiations.

We believe there is reason to doubt whether the Palestinians’ move today will advance the peace process at the present time. We fear that it might rather lead to a further hardening of positions.

The German government expressly welcomes the fact that the present draft resolution emphatically backs a two-state solution, thus recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

Germany will do its utmost to support all efforts aimed at paving the way for a genuine negotiation process. This can only be achieved with the necessary political will on both sides and the international community’s active commitment. "