High-stakes diplomacy over Palestinian U.N. bid

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They are “going to the U.N. to get this state not to make peace but to challenge Israel’s legitimacy in international arenas and to try to undermine the peace process,” he told CNN.

His comments reflected Israel’s concern about further isolation and underscored the country’s mistrust of the United Nations.

Envoys from the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia were meeting Sunday, followed by talks between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Those international negotiators have failed to persuade the Palestinians to scale down their ambitions for full U.N. membership and recognition as a state, but they were trying to craft a statement that could restart peace talks.

Such a statement would offer the Palestinians a modest upgrade in status, address Israel’s demand that its identity as a Jewish state be upheld and lay out a broad time line and parameters for renewed negotiations, officials said.

“What we will be looking for over the next few days is a way of putting together something that allows (Palestinian) claims and legitimate aspirations for statehood to be recognized whilst actually renewing the only thing that’s going to produce a state, which is a negotiation directly between the two sides,” former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told ABC’s “This Week.” Mr. Blair now serves as an international envoy to the Mideast.

The Palestinians have rejected proposals from Mr. Blair and seconded by U.S. envoys Dennis Ross and David Hale that would give the Palestinians the “attributes of a state,” including membership in nonjudicial international organizations, without actual statehood.

“It is too late now,” Nabil Shaath, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the Associated Press. “The proposals (that) came to us … are not good even as a starting point.”

Given the stakes and entrenched positions, the best the U.S. and its allies may be able to achieve is a delay in action on the Palestinian bid.

Associated Press writer Mohammad Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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