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Israel arrives at a tough diplomatic intersection

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In recent months, Israel has been preparing a "basket" of potential responses to the Palestinian statehood campaign, running the gamut from annexing portions of the West Bank to considering recognition of a Palestinian state.

Though it is still unclear exactly what moves the Palestinians are planning at the UN beyond an appeal to the Security Council for full membership, it is clear that the stakes have become higher for Israel’s counter-moves.

Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Bar Ilan University, says that Israel has been taking a "speak softly and carry a big stick" approach in an effort not to insult Egypt, even though Israel’s press has portrayed Egypt's interim military rulers as having been slow to intervene when hundreds of demonstrators overran the Israeli embassy.

"There’s a fragile situation in Egypt…. Israel is going to do everything in its power not to help the anti-peace camp," he says.

Even the military, which has been preparing in case of mass protests in the West Bank and on Israel’s borders in response to the UN move, "understands this is a time for maximum restraint," he adds.

A diplomatic intersection

For the past two decades, Israel’s geopolitical posture in the Middle East has rested on two key regional alliances: quiet cooperation with Egypt, one of two Arab states to have made peace with Israel, and an open embrace of Turkey.

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