A bid for statehood at the UN sets member countries on a collision course.

Barack Obama, the US president, has told Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, that he will veto the latter's bid for UN membership.

Obama said this in an attempt to persuade his Palestinian counterpart to drop the plans. But Abbas vowed to press ahead during a meeting with Obama, the White House said later.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, says that a US veto could spark another cycle of violence in the region.

In this episode we ask: Why are the Palestinians insisting on full recognition and why is the US determined to block it? Has the UN become a diplomatic battleground? How does this affect the Middle East peace process? Can the US remain an honest broker?

Inside Story, with presenter Laura Kyle, discusses with Mustafa Barghouti, the head of the Palestinian National Initiative; Shlomo Ben-Ami, a former Israeli foreign minister and currently the vice-president of the Toledo International Centre for Peace; and Josh Lockman, a law lecturer at the Univeristy of Southern California and an expert in US foreign policy.

Source: Al Jazeera