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Israeli, Palestinian Showdown Looms

  • A Jewish settler looks at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, from the E-1 area on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    A Jewish settler looks at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, from the E-1 area on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • The E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    The E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • The E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    The E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • General view of Givat Hamatos area in east Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.  An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    General view of Givat Hamatos area in east Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • General view of Givat Hamatos area in east Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.  An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    General view of Givat Hamatos area in east Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • A Palestinian boy rides a donkey in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.  An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    A Palestinian boy rides a donkey in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • A Palestinian boy rides a donkey in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.  An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    A Palestinian boy rides a donkey in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • A Palestinian man walks in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    A Palestinian man walks in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • A Palestinian man walks in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    A Palestinian man walks in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership at his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012. Israel’s latest settlement plans will destroy any lingering hopes of setting up a Palestinian state next to Israel, a senior Palestinian official warned Tuesday, as international anger over such construction snowballed. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership at his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012. Israel’s latest settlement plans will destroy any lingering hopes of setting up a Palestinian state next to Israel, a senior Palestinian official warned Tuesday, as international anger over such construction snowballed. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership at his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012. Israel’s latest settlement plans will destroy any lingering hopes of setting up a Palestinian state next to Israel, a senior Palestinian official warned Tuesday, as international anger over such construction snowballed. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership at his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012. Israel’s latest settlement plans will destroy any lingering hopes of setting up a Palestinian state next to Israel, a senior Palestinian official warned Tuesday, as international anger over such construction snowballed. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

  • A Jewish settler looks at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, from the E-1 area on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    A Jewish settler looks at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, from the E-1 area on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • A Jewish settler looks at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, from the E-1 area on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
  • The E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
  • The E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
  • General view of Givat Hamatos area in east Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.  An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
  • General view of Givat Hamatos area in east Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.  An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
  • A Palestinian boy rides a donkey in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.  An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
  • A Palestinian boy rides a donkey in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.  An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
  • A Palestinian man walks in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
  • A Palestinian man walks in the E-1 area near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, background, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership at his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012. Israel’s latest settlement plans will destroy any lingering hopes of setting up a Palestinian state next to Israel, a senior Palestinian official warned Tuesday, as international anger over such construction snowballed. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership at his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012. Israel’s latest settlement plans will destroy any lingering hopes of setting up a Palestinian state next to Israel, a senior Palestinian official warned Tuesday, as international anger over such construction snowballed. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
  • A Jewish settler looks at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, from the E-1 area on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. An Israeli-Palestinian showdown over plans for new Jewish settlements around Jerusalem escalated on Wednesday: Israel pushed the most contentious of the projects further along in the planning pipeline, while the Palestinian president said he would seek U.N. Security Council help to block the construction. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

— Palestinians and Israelis hardened their positions yesterday over a contentious new settlement push around Jerusalem, with Israel going full throttle on plans to develop the area and the Palestinians trying to block it through an appeal to the U.N. Security Council.

The settlement push — Israel’s retaliation for the Palestinians’ success in winning U.N. recognition of a de facto state — has touched off an escalating international showdown. Palestinians claim the construction would deal a death blow to Mideast peace hopes. Even Israel’s staunchest allies have been outraged by the move, feeding speculation they might squeeze Israel more than usual to back down on its construction plans.

The U.N. move came last week, with the General Assembly recognizing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip — territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel, which rejects a return to its 1967 lines, says borders with a future Palestine should be resolved through negotiations.

Although the Israelis say construction could be years away, the settlement plans have sent a message that within these U.N.-recognized borders, Israel remains in firm control. The plans include 3,000 new settler homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and intentions to press ahead with two other projects that would drive a wedge between east Jerusalem, the Palestinians’ desired capital, and its West Bank hinterland.

International condemnation was harsher than usual, with some of Israel’s closest European allies, including Italy and the European Union yesterday, calling in Israeli ambassadors for rebukes or issuing stern criticism. The issue was expected to be high on the agenda during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Berlin.

Ahead of his arrival, Israel showed no signs of bending, holding a preliminary planning meeting for a new development in a section of the West Bank outside Jerusalem. The project, known under its Israeli administrative term “E1,” is the most contentious of the new settlement projects because of its strategic location.

The Palestinians said they would leverage their newfound U.N. status to seek a Security Council resolution to halt the Jerusalem-area plans.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was determined to block the settlement near Jerusalem with all legal and diplomatic means.

“The settlement plans that Israel announced, especially E-1, are a red line,” Abbas told reporters. “This must not happen.”

The Palestinian representative to the United Nations has contacted U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and the head of the Security Council to sound out the possibilities for a council resolution against settlements, he said.

Passing a U.N. resolution will be no easy task, since the U.S., as a permanent member of the council, could veto any resolution.

Two years ago, it vetoed a similar attempt to condemn settlements, and Washington said a veto would be likely this time as well unless the resolution condemned unilateral actions on both sides.