DAVID GREENE, Host:
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
All this year, Israel has been bracing for a possible diplomatic nightmare. Now that nightmare is drawing near.
GREENE: Frustrated with the lack of progress toward a peace settlement, Palestinians are preparing to ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state. Even an American veto in the Security Council might not stop the effort, depending on how the Palestinians proceed.
INSKEEP: Last minute diplomacy continues, but Palestinians are already taking small symbolic steps, as Sheera Frenkel reports.
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SHEERA FRENKEL: Postmaster Fathi Shbak says the stamps are meant to inspire pride among Palestinians, and recognition by the rest of the world.
FATHI SHBAK: These things, small things, symbolizes for a country. Any foreign person who sees Palestinian stamps or something there, he will know that there's a country that is called Palestine in this world.
FRENKEL: Hanan Ashrawi is one of the Palestinian officials involved in the U.N. bid. She says they hope to shake up the moribund Middle East peace process.
HANAN ASHRAWI: So now we are trying very hard to rescue the chances of peace, and to signal a departure from the business-as-usual-approach, where Israeli power politics and American collusion trumped rule of law and human rights and the requirements of peace.
FRENKEL: Ashrawi says that the cut-off of funds would fuel anger among Palestinians, but insists that protests in the West Bank timed to coincide with the U.N. bid will be nonviolent.
ASHRAWI: Of course there will be protests. There will be march. Now we are adopting, very clearly, an agenda of nonviolent resistance, and - but at the same time resistance, yes.
FRENKEL: Michael Ben Ari, a lawmaker from the pro-settler National Union Party, recently issued a pamphlet to settler leaders encouraging them to organize their own protests.
MICHAEL BEN ARI: (Through translator) We are discussing a number of options how to match them person for person, march for march. The settlements will need extra defenses at this time, and they're making preparations.
FRENKEL: Ben Ari organized a conference in the Israeli parliament last week that focused on what he calls the threats to Israel's settlements, as a result of the Palestinians' U.N. bid.
BEN ARI: (Through translator) We hope, in the end, that we can turn their games into an opportunity for ourselves. We will continue to bring attention to our communities, which are a vital part of the state of Israel, whatever the U.N. says.
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FRENKEL: Standing in front of the Ramallah post office, 22-year-old Aliya Abed says she is excited for by the steps the Palestinian Authority is taking to bolster its bid for statehood. In addition to the new stamps and post cards, mail from the West Bank will now be routed through Jordan, rather than Israel. She says these are important baby steps to reduce Israel's control over the West Bank.
ALIYA ABED: Maybe it is a very simple thing, a stamp. Of course, I think the new stamp is part of an independent state.
FRENKEL: For NPR News, I'm Sheera Frenkel.
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