May 14th

The Pope visits Bethlehem and Nazareth, criticizing Israel's separation barrier and continuing his calls for the creation of a Palestinian state (1) (2) (4) (5) (12) Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with King Abdullah II in Jordan (6). Speculation continues about the first meeting of President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, set to take place on Monday (3) (7) (11). A poll shows 58% of Jewish Israelis support a peace based on two states (16). Objections delay the swearing-in of a new Palestinian government (17).

May 13th

Continuing his Mideast tour, the Pope visits Bethlehem, where he calls for a sovereign Palestinian state and urges the lifting of the Gaza embargo (1) (3) (6) (12). The White House announces dates for upcoming visits of Israeli, Egyptian, and Palestinian leaders (2). Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says that progress in peace negotiations must come before broader Arab recognition of Israel (5). Religious tension mounts in the Arab city of Nazareth in Israel, just ahead of the Pope's visit (9). The leader of the Palestinian "Islamic Jihad" organization argues against any recognition of Israel (13). 1,500 settlers rally in the evacuated West Bank Israeli settlement of "Homesh" (14).

May 12th

Israeli police close a Palestinian media center that had been set up in East Jerusalem for the Pope's visit (1). In The Nation, Robert Dreyfuss reports on a recent address given by U.S. security coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton (4). The Pope's visit continues, as he attempts to maneuver through the complicated politics of the Middle East (2) (5) (10) (13) (15). The UN Security Council calls for "urgent efforts" to establish a Palestinian state (6). Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (7). An op-ed in the Daily Star discusses the potential of convening Fatah's General Congress (12).

May 11th

President Obama announces that he will travel to Egypt next month to deliver his address to the world's Muslims (1). The New York Times reports on how Israel is using park development projects to fortify its claims to Jerusalem (2). Pope Benedict XVI continues his Mideast visit, and announces his support for peace based on two states (3) (12) (16). In an interview with the Times of London, Jordan's King Abdullah warns of potential Mideast warfare if movement towards a peace agreement does not begin this year (5). A report by the UN Office for Coordination on Humanitarian Affairs finds that Israeli settlements and outposts have reduced the available land for Palestinians in Bethlehem to 13% (8). The UN Security Council is set to hold talks today on reviving the Mideast peace process (9). In a Damascus press conference exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshal rejects the idea of a peace based on two states (10).

May 8th

Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the Mideast for his highly anticipated visit (1) (2) (3). An article in The Guardian looks at the West Bank village of Nu'man, which is surrounded on three sides by the Israeli separation barrier (4). In the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer assesses cease-fire terms recently proposed by Hamas leaders (5). Senior Israeli officials express concern over the shifts in the state of the U.S.-Israel relationship under the new governments in both countries (8). The Israeli organization Peace Now petitions the High Court of Justice for an immediate cessation of settlement construction in the West Bank settlement of Halamish - Neve Tzu (9). Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad calls for an end to land expropriation in the "E1" area near Jerusalem (11).

May 7th

Robert Mackey assess the challenge posed by established Israeli settlements to the creation of a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank (1), while Haaretz reports that settlement expansion has recently seen its most acceleration in five years (13). Treasury Department official Michael Rosen announces that the federal government may revise its voluntary guidelines for donating overseas, and suggests American Charities for Palestine as an alternative model (2). The Obama administration reiterates its determination for peace based on two states at the annual AIPAC conference (3), while German chancellor Angela Merkel states that there is no alternative to an agreement between two states (7). Arab leaders meet in Cairo to formulate a unified approach to the Mideast peace process (4).

May 6th

President Barack Obama meets with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Washington (1). Vice-President Joe Biden addresses the AIPAC conference, urging Israel to work towards the creation of a Palestinian state and calling for a freeze on settlement activity (2) (7) (15). The United Nations says it will seek reparations from Israel for damages to their facilities caused by attacks during the Gaza war (4) (10). Quartet Mideast Envoy Tony Blair announces that a new plan for Mideast peace will be unveiled within six weeks (6), while revisions may also be made to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (12). Concern mounts over the potential demolition of Palestinian homes in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem (14).

May 5th

Hamas leader Khaled Meshal tells the New York Times that his fighters have temporarily halted rocket fire into Israel and calls for a 10 year truce with Israel as opposed to a permanent peace agreement (1). The American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference convenes in Washington (15), and is addressed via satellite by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2) (6) (14). Israeli President Shimon Peres also addresses the conference, but makes no mention of a Palestinian state (4), despite AIPAC's recent endorsement of peace based on two states (9). Russia invites ministers of the UN Security Council to meet next week in an effort to give "new impetus" to the Middle East peace process (5). Israel continues demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem (7). The Palestinian Authority establishes a counter-intelligence squad to root out Hamas and Hezbollah agents in the West Bank (13).

May 4th

The Palestinian Authority minister of Agriculture and Social Welfare argues the importance of ending Hamas rule in Gaza (1). UN investigators meet in Geneva ahead of a mission to Israel to assess possible war crimes committed during the Gaza war (3), while Spain announces that it will continue its investigation of a 2002 Israeli bombing on Gaza (9). The Associated Press looks at how Israeli imposed access restrictions on Palestinian police are allowing hideouts for criminals (5). Avigdor Lieberman travels to Europe on his first trip as Israel’s Foreign Minister (6) (7). Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel meets with AIPAC donors and reaffirms the Obama Administration’s commitment to peace based on two states (13).

May 1st

The United Nations issues a report calling on Israel to end the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem (1). In the Washington Times Arnaud de Borchgrave discusses President Obama’s commitment to peace based on two states (2). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman says the President will soon name a prime minister to form a new government (3). Tariq Alhomayed considers attitudes in the Muslim Brotherhood towards Shiites and Iran (4). Speculation continues about the upcoming meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (7) (11). In Al Hayat, Raghida Dergham interviews U.S. Ambassador to the United Nation, Susan Rice (10). The Palestinian Authority establishes a special unit to combat lawlessness in and around the West Bank town of Nablus (12).

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