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Israel feeling isolated ahead of U.N. vote on Palestinian independence

JERUSALEM — Rising tensions with some of its closest and most important allies have left Israel increasingly isolated ahead of a momentous vote on Palestinian independence at the United Nations.

Troubles with Turkey, Egypt and even the United States are adding to Israel's headaches ahead of the vote, which is shaping up to be a global expression of discontent against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Palestinians plan to ask the United Nations this month to recognize their independence in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem — areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war — probably by embracing them as a "nonmember observer state." The measure is expected to pass overwhelmingly in the U.N. General Assembly.

The assembly's vote will be largely symbolic. But the Palestinians hope the measure will increase the already considerable pressure on Israel to withdraw from occupied territories, and add leverage should peace talks resume. The Palestinians refuse to negotiate while Israel continues to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian government in the West Bank, said Israeli isolation is playing right into Palestinian hands. "We are seeing that result in increased support for us in the United Nations," he said.

Israel feeling isolated ahead of U.N. vote on Palestinian independence 09/07/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 9:40pm]
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