In his first interview with Arabic television President Obama reaches out to the Muslim world and says that peace talks should resume (1). Israel launches fresh attacks into southern Gaza after an IDF soldier was killed by a bomb planted on the Gaza-Israel border (2). Newly appointed Mideast envoy George Mitchell is in Cairo on the first leg of his week-long tour of the region (3). The British Gaza appeal by the Disasters Emergency Commission raises record funds despite being refused airtime by the BBC (4). Egypt proposes a start date of February 22nd for Palestinian reconciliation talks (5). The situation in Gaza could complicate Pope Benedict XVI’s planned trip to Israel (6). Benjamin Netanyahu, along with a third of the Likud candidates, refuse to sign a loyalty oath ruling out the possibility of a Palestinian state (11).

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