May 29th

Following yesterday's meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, President Obama reaffirms the U.S. commitment to Roadmap principles and reiterates his call for an end to Israeli settlements (1) (2) (4) (16). Several articles discuss the increasing importance of a settlement freeze (6) (7) (14). The New York Times reports on the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza (3). Israeli police shut down a Palestinian theater in East Jerusalem hosting an international literature festival (9). More than three-quarters of the U.S. House of Representatives sign an AIPAC backed letter urging "every effort" be made for Arab-Israeli peace, but calling on the US not to pressure Israel (11).

May 28th

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphatically reiterates the Obama Administration’s call for an end to all Israeli settlement activity (1) (3) (6), while an Israeli government spokesperson announces that “natural growth” expansion of settlements will continue (3) (5). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet with President Obama in Washington this afternoon (7) (15). A report issued by Amnesty International accuses Israel of violating the laws of armed conflict during the Gaza war and of breaking the ceasefire with Hamas (13). A special Israeli police unit kills a senior Hamas military commander in Hebron (14).

May 27th

As Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives in Washington, the U.S. moves to bolster the Palestinian Authority (1) (3). The New York Times remembers Amos Elon’s warnings on the dangers of building settlements in the Occupied Territories (2). Israel evacuates two more settler outposts in the West Bank (13) (16). The Canadian government urges a halt to all settlement activity (4). Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu pledges to abide by existing Israeli agreements (12), while Vice-Premier Moshe Ya’alon rules out the creation of any “Palestinian entity” (17).

May 26th

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu tells his cabinet that construction will continue in existing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, despite calls from President Obama to halt all settlement activity (1) (8). Other reports suggest Israel might be willing to dismantle “outpost” settlements (12) (16). An Israeli government panel backs a new bill that would ban Palestinians in Israel from commemorating the Nakba (3). French President Sarkozy says that a Palestinian state is vital to a larger Mideast peace (5). Recent Israeli restrictions severely impact Gaza fishermen (11). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet with President Obama in Washington later this week (14) (17) (18), as speculation continues about Obama’s role in the peace process (8) (9) (13).

May 22nd

The Los Angeles Times features an interview with bereaved Palestinian doctor and peace activist Izzeldin Abuelaish (1). In the Jewish Daily Forward former Israeli military governor of the West Bank Ephraim Sneh criticizes threats to the peace process (2). Israeli troops kill two Palestinian militants on the Gaza border (3). Raghida Dergham analyzes the possibility of multi-track negotiations (7). Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu vows that all of Jerusalem will always be under Israeli sovereignty, provoking anger from Palestinians (10). Israeli settlers begin immediately rebuilding the West Bank settlement of Maoz Ester following the military evacuation yesterday (12).

May 21st

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' recent appointment of a new cabinet in the West Bank elicits speculation on the widening gap between Palestinian political factions (1) (3) (11) (12). Israel removes a West Bank settler outpost in a gesture to President Obama (5), while the Administration continues to insist on a full halt to all settlement activity (4) (14). Senior members of Prime Minister Netanyahu's staff dismiss mounting international calls for peace based on two states (16). An op-ed by a Palestinian resident of the West Bank town of Hebron describes the severe restrictions on movement in the area (17).

May 20th

Several articles feature more reactions to the first meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama earlier this week (1) (2) (4) (8) (9) (10) (11) (14). The head of Israel’s security services says there is no security reason to finish construction of the West Bank separation barrier (3). The United Nations probe of the Gaza war will continue without Israeli approval (5). A new Palestinian government is sworn-in in Ramallah, despite objections from both Hamas and Fatah (6). Israeli West Bank settlement representatives meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak (15), while U.S. Secretary of State Clinton reiterates the Administration’s call for a halt to all settlement construction (17).

May 19th

In their first meeting yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu tells President Obama that he wants to restart peace talks, but refrains from endorsing a Palestinian state (1). While President Obama addresses the Prime Minister’s major concern s regarding Iran (2) (4). Palestinian officials voice disappointment in the lack of progress produced by this first meeting (3), and other commentators speculate on the future of the peace process (7) (8) (9) (10). Fatah and Hamas end Egyptian mediated talks in Cairo without an agreement (6).

May 18th

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is in Washington today for his first meeting with President Obama (1), while speculation abounds regarding the substance of their discussions (5) (7) (10) (12) (15). A new Israeli settlement is slated for construction in the Jordan Valley (8). According to Haaretz, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have recently made discreet contacts regarding the resumption of peace negotiations (9). Fatah and Hamas reportedly reach an agreement on the establishment of a joint security force for Gaza (13).

May 15th

In a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Jordan’s King Abdullah urges Israeli commitment to a peace based on two states (1), while Netanyahu explains to the Pope his reservations regarding a Palestinian state (2). The first meeting between Netanyahu and President Obama is set for Monday in Washington (3) (11) (9). Four former Mideast ambassadors sign a letter to President Obama urging an ‘active U.S. role’ in seeking peace based on two states (4). Quartet envoy Tony Blair urges urgent action towards such an agreement in testimony before the U.S. Congress (5). Hamas boycotts the visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Syria (7). Egyptian security forces discover a significant weapons cache on the Gaza border (13). An op-ed in Ynet News scoffs at Israeli President Shimon Peres’ ‘natural growth’ explanation for settlement expansion (14).

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