The U.S. and Europe are racing to avert or delay a looming showdown over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations this week that may kill already badly wounded Mideast peace hopes.

Senior U.S. and European officials will meet on Sunday in New York to try to find a formula that would bring Israel and the Palestinians back to stalled negotiations without antagonizing either side or embroiling the region in new turmoil. But with the parties locked in intractable positions over the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition and chances for a breakthrough slim, officials say the effort may be more about damage control than diplomacy.

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