Foreign Policy: Unilateral Palestinian move "risks a serious rupture with the United States"


Foreign Policy on Thursday assessed growing tensions between Palestinian officials and Washington, citing a range of statements to the effect that relations between Ramallah and Washington may become strained should the Palestinians continue to press unilateral moves toward statehood at the United Nations Security Council. The outlet, which said the bid "risks a serious rupture with the United States," quoted one European diplomat as saying that Ramallah was “not really interested in achieving an outcome, but in provoking a public standoff with the United States.” Foreign Policy assessed that the chance that the Palestinian resolution would be adopted was “virtually zero,” noting that Foggy Bottom “has sought to assure Israel that it will block any U.N. resolution that threatens its security and risks undercutting the prospects of a negotiated settlement to the crisis.” A draft resolution submitted to the UNSC on Wednesday included a demand for a timeline for the withdrawal of Israeli security forces from areas that the Palestinians intend to claim for a future state, as well as a deadline for the parties to reach a peace agreement. The State Department and top lawmakers had already on Thursday stated opposition to the moves, with State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki flatly stating at the day’s press briefing that “in terms of the specifics of [the draft resolution] in its current form, we couldn't support it.” The Obama administration has long insisted that Palestinian unilateral moves toward statehood – which violates decades of commitments to pursuing peace with Israel under a bilateral framework – endanger the peace process as well as undermines the economic viability of a future Palestinian state.


An estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, a chronic disease marked by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing as the lining of the lungs’ bronchial tubes swells and narrows the airways. A new study suggests that a vitamin D deficiency – a common problem — increases the likelihood of flare-ups in people whose condition cannot be sufficiently controlled with medication. Rather than adding more pharmaceuticals, such people may want to have their vitamin D levels checked and add supplementation if necessary. A team led by Dr. Ronit Confino-Cohen of the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Unit at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba came to this conclusion after analyzing the medical records of nearly four million members of Clalit Health Services, Israel’s largest healthcare provider. They zeroed in on records of 307,900 patients age 22 to 50 whose vitamin D levels were documented between 2008 and 2012. Of those, some 21,000 also were diagnosed with asthma. Looking at the 21,000 records, they discovered that those with a vitamin D deficiency were 25 percent more likely than other asthmatics to have had at least one flare-up in the recent past, according to results recently published in the journal Allergy by Confino-Cohen and her colleague Arnon Goldberg, with Becca Feldman and Ilan Brufman of the Clalit Research Institute. Confino-Cohen, who is on the faculty of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler medical school, says that most of the existing data regarding vitamin D and asthma came from pediatric studies and was inconsistent. “Our present study is unique because the study population of young adults is very large and ‘uncontaminated’ by other diseases,” she explains. The researchers found that vitamin D-deficient asthmatics were at a higher risk of an asthma attack if their condition was uncontrolled – defined as being prescribed at least five rescue inhalers, one prescription of oral corticosteroids or visiting the doctor for asthma at least four times in a single year. (via Israel21c)

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