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Clock ticks on Palestinian U.N. plan

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Diplomats struggled to find a formula on Thursday to avoid a clash over the Middle East as time ticked down on Palestinian plans to ask the United Nations to recognize their statehood. Zena, a 6-year-old Belgian-Palestinian girl, waves a Palestinian flag during a protest in central Brussels September 21, 2011. (REUTERS/Francois Lenoir) President Mahmoud Abbas is pushing ahead with plans to submit the Palestinian application to the U.N. Security Council on Friday, rebuffing a personal plea from U.S. President Barack Obama to forgo the U.N. option and resume direct peace talks with Israel. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called Israel a “tumor” to be…