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).

April 30th

The Jewish Daily Forward discusses Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's probable choice for U.S. ambassador (1). Members of Congress express skepticism over President Obama's recently proposed amendments to the Palestinian aid plan (2). The Christian Science Monitor looks at a joint Israeli-Palestinian event to mark the anniversary of the founding of Israel (3). Despite recent crackdowns , smuggling tunnels continue to run between Gaza and Egypt (4) as two Palestinians are killed in a tunnel collapse (6). Palestinian officials say that President Mahmoud Abbas may form a new government before he meets with President Obama in late May (9), while Hamas warns that they will reject any new government if it does not gain approval by the Palestinian Legislative Council (10).

April 29th

Another round of Palestinian national accord talks in Cairo ends in deadlock (1). Israeli President Shimon Peres is set to meet with President Obama in Washington next week (2). Britain criticizes a recently released UN human rights report on the Gaza war (4). Egypt cracks down on Gaza tunnel smugglers (5). A former Palestinian Authority official is sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzlement (6). The recently released World Bank report on Israeli-Palestinian water rights continues to provoke controversy (7). Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stresses his commitment to securing the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit (9). Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak voices his hope for peace within three years (10).

April 28th

Settlement monitors report that Israel built or issued bids for 9,000 Israeli homes in Jerusalem and the West Bank under Ehud Olmert’s administration (1), while construction begins on 60 new housing units in East Jerusalem settlements (4). A Palestinian teenager is shot by a settler in the northern West Bank (2). In The Guardian, Ben White examines the uncertain future of the Fatah party (3). Continued political infighting has trapped hundreds of Palestinian patients in Gaza, unable to travel for medical treatments (6). Mohammed Assadi profiles Nabi Elyas, a Palestinian West Bank village catering to Israeli consumers (7). An aide to Prime Minister Netanyahu says that his Middle East policy should be completed by the time he visits Washington next month (11). Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says a written plan for long-term peace was submitted to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert just before the Gaza war (12).

April 27th

The Obama administration asks Congress to approve the potential continuation of aid to Palestine, even if officials backed by Hamas become part of a national accord government (1). Meanwhile, previously deadlocked unity talks between Hamas and Fatah resume in Cairo (7). Peace Now has reportedly obtained Israeli plans to expand the settlement of Maale Adumim near Jerusalem (2). BBC News examines the ongoing demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem (5). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he won’t be pressured into resuming peace talks with Israel as long as settlement construction continues (6). The proposed route for the controversial separation barrier is amended around the Palestinian town of Bil’in (11). In conversations with Haaretz, Israeli defense and security sources commend the work of Palestinian security forces in the West Bank (12).

April 24th

King Abdullah II of Jordan calls for an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in a speech to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (1). Secretary of State Clinton says that support for Israel in regards to Iran will only come “hand-in-hand” with progress towards a Palestinian state (2)(3). Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman calls the Arab Peace initiative ‘dangerous’ (5). Israeli mayor of Jerusalem rejects calls for a halt on demolitions of Arab homes (6). PM Netanyahu criticizes the EU for freezing their upgrade in ties (7). The candidate for Israel’s Ambassador to Washington supports a unilateral withdrawal of the West Bank including many settlements (9). Secretary Clinton vows that the US will only deal with a Palestinian government that commits to halting violence and recognizing the state of Israel (10). President Obama’s support for a two-state solution gives Arabs hope, but some skepticism remains.

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