We are witnessing the most extraordinary moment in the Middle East since I began following events there 25 years ago. Every day brings a new ground-breaking development -- things that would lead newspapers all by themselves, anytime, anywhere.
Of course they included the United States and Israel. Add to that Canada, the Czech Republic and Panama. The rest were tiny, barely significant Pacific islands, like Nauru -- the world's smallest republic, home to 14,000 people who hold many unenviable distinctions, including the planet's most overweight people.
What made all of this so striking is that most prognosticators had guessed that, after the Gaza conflict last month, Palestinians would muster less sympathy from other nations than normal. But in fact, officials in most states blame Israel for the weeklong battle -- completely ignoring the hundreds of missiles that Hamas fired.
What's more, the U.S. correctly prevented passage of a statement in the United Nations Security Council that opined on the Gaza fight -- but deliberately failed to mention that Hamas's volley of rockets had precipitated the Israeli attacks.
After the lopsided General Assembly vote, West Bank Palestinians cheered. But that may not be all that happens.
Last year, the first time the Palestinian Authority contemplated taking its case to the U.N., Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki told me: "The minute the leadership returns from New York, Palestinian youths expect them to begin exercising absolute sovereignty." A few hours later, Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, threw up his hands and declaimed: "I can't deliver! That's not my thinking about September at all -- assert absolute sovereignty unilaterally."
In fact, Israel greeted the news from the U.N. by announcing major new settlement projects, including one that's intended to link Maale Adumim, a large West Bank settlement, to Jerusalem. That would make it impossible to connect two major Palestinian cities, Ramallah and Bethlehem, to Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The White House, European Union and U.N. secretary general all expressed unusually angry outrage.
Next door in Egypt, President Mohammed Morsi declared that his presidential decrees are exempt from court review, spawning massive protests reminiscent of those that brought down former President Hosni Mubarak last year. Many Egyptians are now calling Morsi the nation's new Pharaoh.
Morsi stood fast and then forced the Islamist-dominated legislature to rush through a new constitution -- before the courts could, as they have threatened, abolish the Islamist constitution-writing committee.
The document offers pointed references to Shariah law that could give Islamists the ability to restrict freedom of speech, women's rights and other liberties. That spurred days of even larger street protests.
Meantime, in Syria rebels got a hold of anti-aircraft missiles for the first time and shot down a helicopter and at least one fighter jet. The ability to kill by air has been a significant government advantage. What's more, in recent days several important nations -- France, Turkey, Italy and Britain -- have announced that they officially recognize the Syrian opposition as the new leaders of the nation. Reportedly, the United States is planning to do the same. This could be a turning point in the war.
Still, the question remains: Who, exactly, are they recognizing? Rebels, thugs, al-Qaeda terrorists -- or all of the above? Late last month, a car bomb exploded in a Damascus suburb, killing 57 people, all of them civilians. Who among the rebels would carry out something like that other than al-Qaeda?
In response, it seemed, Syria shut down Internet servers and some cell-phone service for a few days, apparently trying to prevent anyone from continuing to transmit reports of the wanton killing that continues every day.
For example, the United Nation's refugee agency reported that Syrian forces are shooting at Syrian civilians as they try to flee to Jordan to escape the conflict. Jordanian hospitals are admitting injured Syrian refugees every day, many with gunshot wounds. Finally, the government may have begun weaponizing its chemical weapons, possibly to fire at rebels -- prompting threats from Washington.
Americans for Peace Now and other liberal groups are urging Israel to pick up peace negotiations after the U.N. vote. In Egypt, activists said the revolution that began last year is still under way. And Western nations including the U.S. said they are going to step up aid to the Syrian rebels. Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, hinted at possible military action.
Stay tuned. Still more interesting days ahead.
Joel Brinkley, a professor of journalism at Stanford University, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former foreign correspondent for the New York Times.