June 16th

President Obama welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's acceptance of the goal of establishing a Palestinian state (1), while the reception across the Middle East is much cooler (8) (9) (13). Israeli officials are allegedly negotiating with Washington on the terms of a settlement freeze (4) (11), as the European Union defers an upgrade of trade relations with Israel, pending a full settlement freeze (2). President Obama strengthens his call for an end to the two year-long Israeli blockade of Gaza (5). A poll of U.S. voters shows a decline in overall support for Israel (7).

June 15th

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu delivers a controversial policy speech accepting the possibility of a Palestinian state but rejecting a settlement freeze (1), eliciting strong reactions from all sides (4) (5) (6) (9) (10) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18). The Washington Post examines how President Obama’s stance on an Israeli settlement freeze has been shaped over time (2). Newsweek interviews former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (4). A report released today by three international aid groups finds that Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank is increasing (7). The Independent features an op-ed by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on what Israel and the Palestinians must do to advance peace (8).

June 12th

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is set to deliver a policy speech that may accept the need for a Palestinian state (1) (11) (12). In Time magazine, Aaron David Miller urges the Obama administration to keep up pressure on Israel (3). A Palestinian youth is hanged for allegedly collaborating with the Israeli army (4). Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell calls on Arab states to make efforts towards normalizing relations with Israel (9). A recently released poll shows that 56% of Israelis support continued settlement construction, despite international pressure for a freeze (10). The UN is reportedly considering fining Israel for damage to its facilities during the Gaza war (13).

June 11th

CBS News reports on Israeli settlers' angry reaction to President Obama's call for a settlement freeze (1), while the Reform rabbinate backs Obama's stance (6). ATFP Senior Fellow Ghaith al-Omari is featured in an article about the changing attitude in Washington towards Mideast peace (2). Palestinian police arrest 36 Hamas activists in the West Bank (4). Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell meets with Palestinian leadership in Ramallah (6) (8) before flying to Cairo to meet with Egyptian leadership (11). Israeli President Shimon Peres says it is time to move into phase two of the Road Map, establishing a Palestinian state with provisional borders (13).

June 10th

Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell meets with Israeli and Palestinian leaderships (1) (2) (4) (7), urging a swift resumption to peace talks and reiterating the U.S. commitment to peace based on two states (8). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seeks agreement within the party to hold the Sixth Fatah Congress (5). A report by Israeli human rights group Yesh Din finds that Palestinians in the West Bank are facing an increase in attacks by Israeli settlers (11). Israel continues its refusal to accept a settlement freeze (14).

June 9th

Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell meets with the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships and urges a swift resumption of peace talks (1) (10). The UN says its investigation into alleged war crimes during the Gaza war is unlikely to lead to prosecutions (3). General Keith Dayton says he plans to increase the size of the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank in order to combat threats by Hamas militants (4) (17). A report by Amnesty International finds that many Palestinian homes in the West Bank are at risk of demolition by Israeli forces (5). A Gallup poll shows that Americans remain skeptical about the prospect of Mideast peace (6). UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, calls on Israel to ease the blockade of Gaza and freeze settlement activity (7).

June 8th

Secretary of State Clinton rejects Israeli claims that the Bush administration secretly agreed to the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank (1) (7), as tension continues over U.S. insistence on a full settlement freeze (2) (8) (13). Four Palestinian militants are killed in a clash with Israeli forces near the Gaza-Israel border (5). Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell says President Obama wants 'immediate' peace talks between Israel and Palestine (6). Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu plans to deliver a 'major diplomatic speech' soon (10) (14). On Ibishblog.com, Hussein Ibish argues that now is the time for a real, effective and mainstream coalition for peace in the Middle East (11).

June 5th

President Obama's historic speech from Cairo yesterday elicits varied responses (1) (2) (3) (4) (9) (11) (13). Tensions surrounding efforts to secure an Israeli settlement freeze continue (5) (12) (18). After meeting in Dresden, President Obama and German Chancellor Merkel vow to "redouble" their efforts towards Mideast peace (6). The UN team investigating alleged war crimes during the Gaza war announces that it will hold public hearings with victims later this month (7).

June 4th

President Obama delivers his historic speech to the Muslim world from Cairo (1) (3) (12). Senior Israeli officials accuse Obama of breaching alleged understandings on settlement growth reached with President Bush (2), as the issue of a settlement freeze remains tense (4) (5). Four are killed in the West Bank as Palestinian security forces clash with Hamas militants (6). A report issued by the World Bank finds that Israeli restrictions are holding up many of its projects in the West Bank and impeding Palestinian development (7). A Tel Aviv University poll finds that Israeli support for settlements in the Occupied Territories is at an all-time low (8).

June 3rd

President Obama arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to kick off his highly anticipated Mideast tour (1) (10) (11). Speculation continues regarding the issue of a potential Israeli settlement freeze (3) (4) (5). Before leaving for the Mideast, President Obama joins a White House meeting between National Security Advisor Jim Jones and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (15). Israeli police remove a West Bank settler outpost and two roadblocks in Ramallah (17).

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