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Obama can let Palestinians seek state recognition at the UN

Israel, by resuming settlement construction, can't expect President Obama to block a possible request for United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state.

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President Obama may soon have an unusual chance to serve the cause of Middle East peace by remaining silent.

He could quietly acquiesce to a move being considered by Palestinian leaders to ask the United Nations to recognize a state of Palestine.

Such a request would only be necessary in one case: if Israel effectively ends any hope of renewed peace negotiations by continuing to build Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

Mr. Obama has good reason to give a quiet wink to such a Palestinian request. He is deeply frustrated that Israel renewed its settlement construction last month. That move forced Palestinians to quit bilateral peace talks. It also caused them to contemplate the prospect that the US is no longer a reliable mediator or able to press Israel to make concessions.

As a last resort, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is considering asking for Obama’s support in seeking recognition by UN bodies of Palestinian sovereignty over the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

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