High-stakes diplomacy over Palestinian UN bid

September 18, 2011 • National News, World News

FILE – In this Dec. 14, 2007 file photo, a Palestinian man argues with an Israeli soldier during a demonstration against Israel’s separation barrier at the village of Bilin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. The Palestinians will be able to make a strong case when they ask the U.N. next week to recognize an independent Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the lands Israel occupied in 1967. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The United States and Europe raced Sunday to avert or delay a looming United Nations showdown over Palestinian statehood that could crush already dim Mideast peace prospects, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the European Union’s top diplomat meeting in an attempt to come up with a winning strategy.

Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton discussed the situation in New York as part of an increasingly desperate effort to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to negotiations without antagonizing either side or embroiling the region in new turmoil.

But with each side locked in intractable positions over the expected Palestinian bid this week for U.N. recognition, chances for a breakthrough seemed slim. Officials said the effort may be more about damage control than diplomacy.

“We are meeting to talk about the way forward,” Clinton said as she shook hands with Ashton in a New York hotel. She declined to say if mediators were making progress.

The Palestinians are frustrated by their inability to win from Israel concessions such as a freeze on settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. They Login to read more

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