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Hizbullah Flag Flies in Toronto


The annual Al-Quds was marked is Toronto, Canada, where the traditional rally marking Al-Quds Day was held on Sunday, August 28, at Queen's Park in front of the parliament of Ontario.

The rally was attended by hundreds of people and extreme anti-Israel speeches were heard. Zafar Bangash, president of the Islamic Society of York Region, attacked the U.S. and Israel and expressed his belief that Palestine will soon be liberated from the current Jewish-Zionist regime.

US Confirms Palestinian Statehood Veto Threat

By David Gollust (VOA-State Department)

The United States on Thursday confirmed it will veto any bid by the Palestinians to seek statehood recognition in the U.N. Security Council. Meanwhile, U.S. diplomats continue an effort to reconvene direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and avert a political showdown at the United Nations later this month.

The veto threat comes as no surprise because the Obama administration has long said that a Palestinian statehood bid - without Israeli concurrence - would set back hopes for real peace.

Despite the U.S. stance, the Palestinian Authority says it is determined to win an upgrade of international recognition when the new U.N. General Assembly convenes in New York in less than two weeks.

In the absence of action in the Security Council due to a U.S. veto, Palestinians can ask the General Assembly to elevate their U.N. status from an observer to a "non-state member."

The United States has no veto in the General Assembly and analysts say a Palestinian measure there would likely be approved by a wide majority.

At a news briefing, State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland downplayed the significance of making the U.S. veto threat explicit. "It should not come as a shock to anyone in this room that the U.S. opposes a move in New York by the Palestinians to establish a state that can only be achieved through negotiations. So yes, if something comes to a vote in the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. will veto," she said.

In a Middle East policy speech in May, President Obama for the first time called for a two-state Middle East settlement based on Israel's pre-1967 borders, which is in line with long-held Palestinian demands. But he also said symbolic Palestinian actions at the United Nations will not create an independent state and that efforts to "delegitimize" Israel will end in failure.

U.S. envoys Dennis Ross and David Hale were traveling back to Washington on Thursday after what were depicted as last-ditch talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials on resuming the dialogue.

Israel said it would return to the talks, but Palestinians say they will not unless Israel ends settlement building and accepts the 1967 borders as a basis for an accord. Palestinians say U.N. action does not jeopardize direct negotiations, but Israeli officials say it could provoke violent unrest and scuttle the peace process.

Palestinians March for Statehood Recognition


Palestinians have launched a series of public relations efforts for their bid to join the United Nations as a full member state, a day after U.S. envoys tried to persuade them to drop the bid.

About 100 Palestinian officials and activists marched Thursday to the U.N. office in Ramallah, where they presented a letter stating their intentions to a U.N. official. The letter is addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and asks that he support the membership bid.

The Palestinians say they will hold a series of peaceful events ahead of the September 20th start of the U.N. General Assembly. A General Assembly vote in favor of Palestinian state membership would be largely symbolic, but could give Palestinians international support in their bid for an independent state.

They are expected to seek U.N. membership for a state based on boundaries that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israel rejects a return to those lines.

Turkey: Warships to Escort Gaza-Bound Aid Vessels


Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatened Thursday to dispatch Turkish warships to escort aid ships from his country to Hamas-ruled Gaza. Erdogan also said that Turkey had taken steps to stop Israel from unilaterally exploiting natural resources from the eastern Mediterranean, according to Al Jazeera's Arabic translation of excerpts of the interview, which was conducted in Turkish.

Erdogan's comments came as Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and heated up rhetoric against the Jewish State in the aftermath of the publication of the UN Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Maramara raid and Israel's refusal to answer Turkish demands to apologize for the incident.

Israel, in accordance with the Palmer Report's conclusion, has offered only to 'express regret' for the deaths of 9 Turkish nationals who were a part of a mob that attempted to lynch members of Israel's Shayetet-13 naval commando unit, who boarded the vessel.

Turkey was particularly incensed by the Palmer Report's conclusion Israel's blockade of Gaza was "legal and appropriate" and rejected its findings saying the report was "biased." Dispatching warships to violate Israel's blockade would almost certainly be regarded as an Act of War in Jerusalem and could lead to a naval showdown akin to the US-Russian confrontation during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

Turkey and Egypt will hold a joint naval exercise at the end of the year, according to an unconfirmed report in Egyptian news Web site 'Masrawy' Thursday. An unnamed Egyptian official told the web site the drill would help in the exchange of knowledge and combat techniques between the countries.

Erdogan will make an official visit to Cairo next week and meet with high-ranking Egyptian officials in a bid to strengthen strategic and business relations between the two countries.

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