NEW YORK -- The United States and Europe raced Sunday to avert or delay a looming United Nations showdown over Palestinian statehood that could crush already dim Mideast peace prospects, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the European Union's top diplomat meeting in an attempt to come up with a winning strategy.
Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton discussed the situation in New York as part of an increasingly desperate effort to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to negotiations without antagonizing either side or embroiling the region in new turmoil. But with each side locked in intractable positions over the expected Palestinian bid this week for U.N. recognition, chances for a breakthrough seemed slim.
The Palestinians are frustrated by their inability to win from Israel concessions such as a freeze on settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. They want to seize the moment to try to gain greater standing and attention with a high-stakes wager on statehood and U.N. membership. The U.S. and Israel vehemently opposed this move.