Pope Benedict XVI wished the world Christmas peace Tuesday, decrying the killing of the "defenseless" in Syria and urging Palestinians and Israelis to find the "courage" to negotiate.
An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday. Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, and the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.
The Palestinians are certain to win U.N. recognition as a state on Thursday but success could exact a high price: delaying an independent state of Palestine because of Israel's vehement opposition.
A bid for U.N. recognition of a state of Palestine is a last-ditch attempt to rescue troubled Mideast peace efforts, a Palestinian spokeswoman said Wednesday, rejecting Israel's charge that it is an attempt to bypass negotiations.
After bitter rival Hamas held its own in a fierce battle with Israel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has no choice but to override U.S. objections and seek U.N. recognition of a state of Palestine next week, his aides said Friday.
Israeli diplomats have put foreign leaders on notice that their country will consider its historic peace accords with the Palestinians null and void if they ask the United Nations for a state, according to a document obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
Israel said Tuesday that it was pushing forward with construction of more than 1,200 new homes in Jewish settlements, in an apparent warning to the Palestinians to rethink their plan to ask the United Nations to recognize an independent state of Palestine.
Mitt Romney told Jewish donors Monday that their culture is part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians, outraging Palestinian leaders who suggested his comments were racist and out of touch with the realities of the Middle East. Romney's campaign later said his remarks were mischaracterized.
On a trip Mitt Romney hoped would impress America's allies, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee managed to anger the nation's potential adversaries — particularly Palestinian leaders, who felt Mr. Romney's comments during his trip to Israel smacked of racism.