Palestine, Rice and the Fiscal Cliff

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The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly -- and over the vociferous objections of the US and Israel -- to elevate the status of Palestine to "non-member observer state." Will this shift the balance of power in the Middle East? Is this a recipe for peace or for even greater conflict? Also, UN Ambassador Susan Rice continues to face criticism from Republicans over her statements about the attack in Benghazi. Is this about her, or about Senator John Kerry and the partisan balance of the Senate? Also, the White House and House Republicans continue their brinkmanship as the country rolls ever closer to the Washington-made fiscal cliff. President Barack Obama has laid out his plan and is waiting for the GOP to make a counter-offer -- but Speaker John Boehner says the two sides have reached a stalemate. Is this a game of chicken, or are the two sides too far apart to avoid taking the country over the brink? We talk debt ceilings, stimulus and revenue, and explore the question of whether the election was a mandate for movement, or a ratification of the gridlocked status quo.

This week, Joshua Barro, lead writer for Bloomberg View's The Ticker, brings us the conservative view; Rula Jebreal offers a moderate Middle Eastern middle perspective.

Banner image: Palestinians take part in a rally while the speech of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is being projected in the West Bank city of Ramallah, November 29, 2012. Photo by Mohamad Torokman/Reuters