The New York Times, LA Times, the Economist, and Patrick Seale in the Gulf News all praise President Obama’s Middle East peace initiative and encourage him to continue to pursue an Israeli settlement freeze. The Wall Street Journal outlines Hamas’ present policies. As Israeli human rights groups challenge settlement activity in courts and seek an end to US federal tax exemptions for donations to settlements, the Israeli government considers banning foreign donations to “subversive” NGOs. Ha’aretz profiles the role of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and reports on the first Palestinian “planned city” in the West Bank. Asharq Al-Awsat reports on Arab foreign ministers’ conditions for normalization steps in response to a potential Israeli settlement freeze, while Zuheir Kseibati in Al-Hayat warns against such steps.

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