Raghida Dergham examines challenges facing the Arab world in the evolving strategic situation in the Middle East (1). Obama administration officials say the U.S. intends to provide $900 million in aid to Gaza (2). Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to form a coalition government in Israel continue (3). Christopher Hitchens draws a vivid portrait of Israeli ultra right-wing politician Avigdor Liberman (5). In separate statements, Palestinian President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad call for Hamas to join a Palestinian unity government that meets international conditions (6) (8). Secretary of State Clinton plans to travel to Israel and the West Bank next week, in her first official visit as Secretary (7). The U.S. is reportedly planning to open a permanent office in Jerusalem for Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell (14).

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