Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat is set to make his most blatant bid yet to win world approval for an independent Palestinian state when he addresses the UN General Assembly on September 28.

As the Digest went to press, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged the PA not to go ahead with its announced intention to declare statehood next May.

Such a unilateral step, Netanyahu told the UN, would violate the Oslo Accords, prompt a unilateral response from Israel, and "cause the complete collapse of the process".

US State Department spokesman, James Rubin, said the US would oppose such "unilateral action" by the PA.

But Palestinian Cabinet Secretary Ahmed Abdul Rahman noted that the Arab and Islamic world already recognised a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem, and that the PA also enjoyed the support of virtually the entire international community.

He warned that should Israel act militarily to limit the new state, "the Palestinian people will confront the Israeli military machine with our blood and bodies if necessary".

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