Most news reports and commentaries today focus on possible moves by the Palestinian leadership to declare statehood, although in an interview with IPS, lead Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says that the PLO is considering asking for recognition of Palestinian sovereignty in the occupied territories by the UN. Both the US and EU say that such moves are premature, and it has been angrily rejected by Hamas. Israel has responded by threatening to annex parts of the West Bank. The Washington Post highlights the holy places in Jerusalem as a persistent flashpoint. Roger Cohen argues that Israeli-Palestinian peace is presently unachievable and a truce would be the best option. The LA Times suggests the spirit of the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane is growing on the Israeli right. Mideast envoy George Mitchell reiterates US demands for a halt to settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem. The Daily Star examines Hamas' strategic thinking. Time asks what the future of the new Palestinian security forces would be in the event of a resignation by Pres. Abbas.

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