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Rice: U.S. Not Involved in Negotiations over Palestinian UN Text

By Israel Faxx News Services

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said America is not involved in trying to tone down a draft U.N. resolution on Palestinian statehood.

"We're not negotiating any text, we're not engaged in efforts to water down a text," Rice said Thursday afternoon in a briefing with Jewish journalists. "We're making the case that this is not a productive course."

Netanyahu: Israel will Agree to Upgrade of Palestinian Status, Not Statehood

By Ha'aretz

Israel would agree to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's status at the United Nations as long as it is not declared a state, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in talks with Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, over the past few days.

On Thursday Netanyahu decided to address the UN General Assembly next Thursday evening, the day the Palestinians will submit their statehood bid. Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassadors of five key EU members Thursday to rebuke them over their countries' policy on the Palestinians' bid for UN recognition as a state.

Netanyahu said on Thursday that his speech to the United Nations would stress that negotiations are the only road to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The General Assembly is not a place where Israel usually receives a fair hearing," he said at a press conference with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas at his Jerusalem residence. "But I still decided to tell the truth before anyone who would like to hear it."

Netanyahu is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. EDT, a few hours after PA President Mahmoud Abbas. U.S. President Barack Obama is to be in New York at the same time Netanyahu is there, but no meeting has been scheduled between the two.

Netanyahu continued his talks with U.S. envoys Dennis Ross and David Hale on Thursday, as well as Ashton and Quartet envoy Tony Blair, in an attempt to reach a compromise that would prevent an Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the UN. But no breakthrough was made, and the PA's appeal to the United Nations next week is regarded as inevitable.

Netanyahu told his interlocutors that granting the PA the status of a state would allow the Palestinians to go to the International Criminal Court in The Hague over issues like settlement construction. "But as long as it is less than a state, I'm ready to talk about it," a source familiar with the conversation quoted him as saying.

One of Netanyahu's advisers also said that Israel would not object to the PA's status being upgraded as long as it is not recognized as a state. On Thursday PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki announced that Abbas plans to ask the Security Council to grant a Palestinian state full membership in the United Nations.

But Israel, the United States and the European Union believe the Palestinians will ultimately decide seek a General Assembly resolution recognizing the PA as a nonmember state. Though General Assembly resolutions, unlike those of the Security Council, are nonbinding, the United States cannot veto them, and the approval process is much quicker.

Egypt PM: Peace Treaty with Israel `Not Sacred'

By VOA News &

Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, during an interview with Turkish television Thursday, said his country's 1979 peace treaty with Israel is "not sacred" and subject to change.

Sharaf said the agreement, signed at Camp David in the United States, is "always open to modification if that would benefit the region or a just peace. The Camp David agreement depends on what benefits the region," Sharaf said in an interview on Turkish television, adding, "Egypt will make changes to the treaty if necessary."

The country's military rulers have repeatedly said they are committed to all international pacts signed by former governments, including the Egypt-Israel Treaty. Altering the accord without Israeli or U.S. consent could lead to the loss of billions of dollars in aid from Washington.

Tensions between Egypt and Israel, which have been rising since former president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February, flared after a cross-border attack last month. Cairo accused Israeli forces of shooting dead five Egyptian security guards during gun battles with Palestinian militants who Israel says had earlier ambushed and killed eight Israelis. Egyptian protesters stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo last week in anger at Israel for the border killings.

On Thursday, about 200 Jordanian demonstrators demanded their government close Israel's embassy in the capital, Amman, expel the ambassador and annul a 1994 peace treaty with the Jewish state. The small group of protesters had gathered at a mosque close to the embassy complex, but they were kept away by large numbers of Jordanian police.

Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab countries to have normalized relations with Israel and their capitals are the only two cities in the region where Israel has an embassy.

A State Free of Jews—Why Does This Sound Familiar?

By Lazar Berman (Commentary)

In the hullabaloo around Palestinian efforts to gain UN recognition as a state, there is almost no discussion about what kind of country Palestine will be. A country free of Jews, if the Palestinians have their way.

In a meeting with reporters, PLO Ambassador to the United States Maen Areikat said, in response to a question about the rights of minorities in a future Palestine, "After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated."

Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Egypt—to name a few—have almost entirely cleansed themselves of their ancient Jewish communities. It seems a Palestinian state would be no different than its neighbors—dangerous for non-Muslim, non-Arab minorities, vulnerable to violent Islamist groups, and susceptible to the influence of America's adversaries.

Then again, perhaps this should not surprise us. After all, Palestinian Authority TV has long called Jews "apes and pigs" and broadcast official PA sermons with messages like, "The Jews … are the enemies of Allah and His messenger, the enemies of humanity in general, and of the Palestinians in particular."

And these are the moderates.

This is not to say that the Palestinians should not have their own state when they meet the minimum standards of responsible behavior as a polity. But the United States and European nations must make it clear that if Palestinians are serious about building Palestine and not about destroying Israel, the only path is through negotiation and reconciliation, not using a state as a means of perpetuating violent attacks and anti-Semitism against their Jewish neighbors.

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