Today's news again focuses on a possible Hamas-Israel prisoner swap, and the LA Times argues that an agreement would harm Pres. Abbas. Xinhua claims that Israel is rejecting the release of 40 prisoners, while Asharq Al-Awsat says the deal now hinges on a single prisoner. Hamas leaders say the next 24 hours are crucial and accuse Israel of manipulating the process. Speculation grows that the deal might include senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti. Mideast Envoy George Mitchell reportedly visits an Israeli settlement, and Libya is planning to introduce a Security Council resolution on the settlements. Abbas reiterates complaints that the US is not doing enough to promote peace. A commentary in the Guardian says Israeli-Syrian peace talks are a distraction. The Financial Times argues that Obama still has leverage over Israel, while Al-Hayat claims he has been outmaneuvered by "neoconservatives." The New York Times reviews a controversial new book on Jewish history by Israeli professor Shlomo Sand. An original ATFP translation of an Al-Ayyam article by Hassan Al-Batal analyzes Israeli reactions to the PA government state building plan.

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