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Palestinians moved one step closer to statehood last week when the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority from “nonmember observer entity” to “nonmember observer state.” There was little time for them to savor the diplomatic victory, however: Israel responded with the announcement that it would expand settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Plainly symbolic victories are no substitute for the hard slog of direct negotiations with Israel to forge a real peace.

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