Hamas announces it will ban elections in Gaza, as NPR highlights the group's declining popularity and the New York Times profiles the threat to its rule from more extreme Islamic groups. A number of articles and commentaries consider the implications of the first J Street conference. The 2009 State Department International Religious Freedom Report says Israel continues to discriminate against religious minorities. Ha'aretz reports that the US is considering "indirect" Israeli-Palestinian talks as the next phase of the peace process, but other reports suggest that Arab states are urging the Palestinians to reenter negotiations without preconditions. In The Guardian, Ahmad Khalidi argues that the PA plan for institution building focuses too much on the West Bank and might weaken the Palestinian hand in negotiations with Israel.

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