BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that Israel has been taking unilateral steps for decades by building settlements, so the Palestinians might take one of their own — asking the United Nations to recognize their independent state.
Abbas was replying to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who said the only path to peace is negotiations. The threat of unilateral action indicates the depth of the crisis over peace talks restarted just last month by US President Barack Obama.
Israeli settlements in the West Bank are at the heart of the current stalemate. Netanyahu imposed a 10-month halt to new construction in settlements last November to bring Palestinians back to the table. But it took nine months of intensive US mediation to restart direct talks.