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The Palestinian Authority's bid for recognition as a UN member state has barely left President Mahmoud Abbas' lips (see SchNEWS 798) and already the over-zealous elements of Israel's right-wing have kicked into action. This week leaders from several political factions, including chairman of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's Likud party, called for the annexation of West Bank settlements in response to Abbas' move in New York.

In a letter to Netanyahu they also urged cutting Palestinian aid money, accelerating settlement expansion, and the prohibition of any Palestinian construction in areas controlled by Israeli security forces. These intrepid politicians have obviously never been to the Jordan Valley (or any other part of the West Bank classified as Area C) otherwise they would realise the last recommendation is already a policy of the Israeli occupation forces.

Such ideas have also been aired across the pond. A group of 25 Republicans attempted to introduce a bill in the US Congress supporting Israel's right to annex the whole of the West Bank should Abbas follow through with the statehood bid. The idea is apparently not popular in Israel itself – presumably because it would mean over one million Palestinians being absorbed into the Israeli state altering the demographic balance.

An idea which is gaining traction in Congress, however, is legislation to cut some or all of America's $600 million (approx) annual aid to the Palestinian Authority as punishment for daring to seek statehood. This has been met with unlikely opposition from the pro-Israel lobby with J-Street and even the American Israel Public Affairs Committee calling it counter-productive.

Back in the West Bank settlement expansion is insatiable and this week Egypt's Foreign Minister, Mohamed Amr, criticised Israel over plans to construct 1,100 homes in the Gilo neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. An estimated 6,000 settlement housing units have been given the green light in the last two months. Whilst Hilary Clinton meekly called the plans for Gilo 'counterproductive', there is, unsurprisingly, no Congressional plan to cut US aid to Israel; which in 2010 totalled more than $2bn.

Despite the guarantee the the US will veto Palestine's statehood a final call from the UN Security Council is likely to take weeks. On Wednesday the Council announced it will delay any decision in order to give more time for international efforts to revive direct peace talks. Considering the Palestinians have said, quite rightly, they are unwilling to come to the table unless settlement expansion is frozen it looks as though we are in for a long wait.

Not that peace talks are likely to bring any respite to the millions of Palestinians suffering daily under the barbarity of Israeli occupation. The 1994 Oslo Accords carved up the West Bank, gave Israel control over most of it, and did nothing to prevent subsequent Israeli military incursions into both the West Bank and Gaza that killed thousands of innocent Palestinians. Even the normally pliant PLO leadership now openly refers to quartet envoy Tony Blair as “the Israeli ambassador”. How things are going to get any better is any ones guess.