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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Israel retaliates over UN vote

Israel is angry that the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to upgrade the status of the Palestinians and in retaliation, have authorized the building of 3,000 more housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.  They are also speeding up the processing of 1,000 planning permissions.

It's clear Israel didn't get the message from their friends around the world who abstained from the vote.  There were 41 abstentions, including Australia, the UK and Germany, who realize that if peace is ever to be achieved, all new building must stop.  And if building goes ahead in the area known as E1, it will cut the West Bank in two, preventing all hope of creating a Palestinian state.

The fact that President Obama and Mr Netanyahu are not on close, friendly terms goes back to last year when Obama said that any future Palestinian state must be based on the borders that existed prior to the 1967 war and to stop building new settlements.  A defiant Netanyahu said the 1967 lines were "indefensible".  He was counting on Mitt Romney winning the election and relations between the two men are reportedly strained.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the vote was the "last chance to save the two-state solution" with Israel.  First hurdle jumped with many more to come.