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West Bank Palestinians cheer on their Gaza counterparts

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Though beset by a two-year impasse in the negotiations, rejection by the Israeli government, and a budgetary crisis, Abbas was poised to mount a controversial bid for international recognition at the United Nations, which could have revived support. But the Gaza fighting is making him look like a spectator rather than a central player to the regional events; the Palestinian Authority isn't believed to be a part of the cease-fire talks, which are led by Egypt and include Qatar, Turkey, and Tunisia.

"The UN bid of the Palestinian Authority is one of the early casualties of this war... the political significance of this move is going to be much less than it could have been. All the attention is going to this war,'' says Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian political analyst and former spokesman for the Palestinian Authority.

Escalating war?

"If this war will continue, I think the protests will expand and escalate. It has a radicalizing effect on the population," Mr. Khatib adds.

There were unconfirmed reports of hundreds of demonstrators in Hebron, in villages south of Jerusalem, and outside of the Jalameh crossing into Israel in the northern West Bank. Yesterday two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces at West Bank demonstrations, and the body of one of those killed was carried through Manara Square under a thicket of Palestinian flags and with an escort of Palestinian security forces.

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