ISRAEL / Moves to push peace talks
Palestinians are preparing to take their case to the UN Security Council in the coming days with a resolution declaring ongoing Jewish settlement in the West Bank a major obstacle to ending the conflict. The carefully worded resolution stops short of calling for sanctions against Israel or seeking recognition for Palestinian statehood. But it is designed to increase pressure on both Israel and the United States, Palestinian officials said. State Department officials are waiting to see the language of the resolution, but they said they would prefer to resume peace talks, rather than see diplomatic moves at the UN. Meanwhile on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed nonstop, face-to-face talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas until a peace agreement is reached, offering a possible way to advance the stalled talks. Netanyahu's proposal follows Abbas' claim over the weekend that genuine talks could yield a deal within months.
PAKISTAN / Party quits coalition
Pakistan was thrown into political turmoil Sunday when a coalition partner quit the government, leaving a minority administration that will struggle to survive. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, pulled out of President Asif Zardari's government, leaving it 12 seats short of a majority in a 342-seat parliament. The MQM cited an increase in gasoline prices and new taxes as the reason for joining the opposition. Political instability is likely to take the government's focus off the pro-U.S. fight against Taliban extremists.
AFGHANISTAN / 2 insurgent leaders held
NATO forces captured two key insurgent leaders in Afghanistan, while a service member was killed in a deadly bombing that raised to three the number of NATO troops killed so far this year, the coalition said Sunday. Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he wants the U.S. to consider creating permanent military bases in Afghanistan, saying these would give Afghan forces an edge against the Taliban.