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Israel Says Palestinian Statehood Bid at UN Will Fail

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks during a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011

A showdown is looming this week at the United Nations General Assembly, where the Palestinians plan to seek membership as an independent state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet that the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations this week will fail.

He accused the Palestinians of torpedoing the resumption of direct negotiations, which he described as the only way to achieve peace.

Mr. Netanyahu said Israel is cooperating closely with the United States to make sure that the Security Council will reject a Palestinian request to be accepted to the U.N. as a full member state. The U.S. has threatened to use its veto, saying that unilateral steps are counterproductive and urging the Palestinians to return to peace talks.

The Palestinians have conditioned a resumption of negotiations on a halt to Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but Israel has refused.

The U.S. administration also opposes settlement activity, so Palestinian official Nabil Shaath is baffled by the American opposition to recognizing a Palestinian state. He spoke on Israel's Army Radio.

"I don't see really why the Americans should punish us for going to the United Nations when they cannot really get Israel to stop settlements, when they cannot really make a serious move to go back to negotiations. I mean why should they punish us? I don't understand," said Shaath.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the U.N. General Assembly on Friday. Afterward, Mr. Abbas says he will present the request for statehood to the Security Council.

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