March 17th

Israel’s coalition government begins to take shape, though Netanyahu is still working to attract the support of the moderate parties (1) (6). Egyptian brokered negotiations regarding the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit reach a standstill (2) (9). The American citizen injured last week in a demonstration against the West Bank separation barrier remains in critical condition (3). Uzi Arad, widely expected to serve as national security advisor for the new Israeli government, is barred from the United States on grounds that he is an intelligence risk (4) (13). An obscure Palestinian militant group claims responsibility for the shooting of two Israeli police officers in the West Bank earlier this week (5).

March 16th

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu initiates a coalition agreement with the ultra-right wing Yisrael Beitenu party (1) (9), while the European Union, along with the Palestinian and Egyptian leadership, urge the new Israeli government to adhere to the pursuit of a two-state agreement (2) (3) (12). Two Israeli police officers are shot and killed in the West Bank (4) (14). Egyptian brokered negotiations continue in Cairo, where Israeli envoys push for the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit (7). Hamas and Fatah agree to hold presidential and legislative elections in January, though they remain deadlocked on the question of a national accord government (10).

March 13th

Three right-wing Israeli parties vie for the important housing portfolio under Prime-Minister designate Netanyahu (1), while concern continues to mount about the rightward shift of a new Israeli government (10) (13). Israel has reportedly agreed to free all 450 prisoner demanded by Hamas in exchange for captured soldier Gilad Shalit (2). Officials from Hamas and Fatah report that there are still major obstacles to be overcome as national accord government talks continue in Cairo (4). The Palestinian Center for Human Rights releases their statistics on the Gaza war (7). A Palestinian youth is killed in the West Bank after allegedly throwing explosives at an Israeli military vehicle (8).

March 12th

Hamas calls for Islamic Jihad to halt rocket fire into Israel from the Gaza strip (1) (8). Palestinian national accord government talks continue in Cairo, as Egypt applies pressure for a swift resolution (2) (3) (4). After withdrawing from his appointment to head the National Intelligence Council, Charles Freeman blames the "pro-Israel lobby" (5) (14). Secretary of State Clinton warns that the pledged $900 million in American reconstruction aid for Gaza is contingent upon the new Palestinian government's recognition of Israel (9). A Wall Street Journal op-ed urges Palestinian economic growth as a key foundation for a lasting peace (12).

March 11th

ATFP President Ziad Asali is interviewed by The Media Line (1). The Obama administration promises that U.S. military aid to Israel will not be lessened because of the financial crisis (2). A Gaza family that lost 29 relatives in January's war drops their lawsuit against Israeli government officials (3). The Washington Post profiles the southern Israeli town of Sderot, near the Gaza border (4). Palestinian unity government talks are underway in Egypt (7) (13), while an editorial in the Arab News urges both sides to withhold public skepticism about success (8). Time Magazine examines the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (10).

March 10th

An Israeli human rights organization petitions the High Court for an immediate halt to Israeli mining operations in the West Bank (1). Two former North American Ambassadors to the Middle East propose a “special regime” be charged with administering Jerusalem (2). Intra-Palestinian talks on forming a consensus government are underway in Egpyt (3). Mel Frykberg looks at the tense relationship between Israeli settlers and West Bank villagers (4). Israel reportedly grants amnesty to 20 Fatah members (5). Two rockets are fired into southern Israel from Gaza, resulting in some property damage but no injuries (8).

March 9th

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resigns in hopes of paving the way for a national accord government (1) (7) (8). The New York Times reports on how excavation of West Bank land is threatening a peace deal (2). A confidential report by the European Union accuses Israel of illegally annexing East Jerusalem (3). According to an opinion poll released today, Hamas’ popularity among Palestinians has risen since the war in January (4). The Israeli government bans West Bank Palestinians from entering Israel during the three day Jewish holiday of Purim (5).

March 6th

Newly elected Jerusalem mayor Nir Barakat dismisses Secretary of State Clinton’s criticism of Palestinian home demolitions to make way for a tourist park in the city (1) (6). The Christian Science Monitor looks at how Secretary Clinton’s recent visit has been received by the Arab world (3). More reports are emerging about the ‘wanton’ destruction of Gaza homes by Israeli forces during the war (4) (15). The British Embassy in Israel cancels plans to relocate to new offices because one of the owners is believed to be involved in settlement building (5). Following his recent trip to the region Senator John Kerry outlines his proposed strategy for U.S. involvement in the Middle East (7). Hamas has reportedly demanded that Islamic Jihad stop firing rockets from Gaza (11).

March 5th

The driver of a bulldozer is shot dead after ramming into traffic in Jerusalem (1). The inclusion of Hamas in Palestinian unity government talks prompts skeptical reactions (2) (11). Israel announces that it will allow more aid into Gaza (4). Secretary of State Clinton pledges her support for the administration of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (5). The BBC reports on the poor state of health care for Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank (6). The Obama Administration announces plans to increase U.S. support for Palestinian security forces in the West Bank (9). In a surprise announcement, Sallai Meridor, Israeli ambassador to the U.S., says that he will be quitting his post and returning to Israel (14).

March 4th

Secretary of State Clinton meets with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, showing her support for a two-state solution and criticizing Israeli home demolitions (1) (4) (5) (6) (7). An op-ed in The Christian Science Monitor urges President Obama’s Middle East team to build on the momentum developed toward the end of the Bush Administration (2). In an op-ed for The Daily Star Rami Khouri warns that despite its generosity, the donors’ conference in Sharm el-Sheikh failed to address the political issues underlying the destruction in Gaza (8). Israeli Housing Minister Ze’ev Boim dismisses the settlement expansion report issued earlier this week by Peace Now as “baseless” (11).

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