Martin Indyk says there are four reasons for optimism on negotiations. Ben Smith decodes peace process rhetoric. Palestinians say settlers assault a nine-year-old child. Pres. Abbas says the PLO will negotiate in spite of Palestinian opposition. The Israeli military continues a crackdown on soldiers posing with Palestinian prisoners. A Palestinian human rights group says Hamas is preparing to close its operations in Gaza. PM Netanyahu proposes biweekly meetings with Abbas during negotiations, and is maintaining a careful ambiguity on settlements. Israel's negotiating team will be led by Yitzak Molcho and include only four people. Aluf Benn says Netanyahu may prove to be Israel's Gorbachev. The US is reportedly proposing signing an agreement within one year to be implemented over 10. An Israeli Cabinet minister says any settlement freeze should also apply to Palestinian construction. Ahmed Moor says Lebanon's new rules for Palestinian refugees don't go far enough. A book advocating the killing of non-Jews test the limits of free speech in Israel. Palestinian artists and advertisers use the separation barrier as a blank canvas. Ahmad Majdoubeh says Abbas needs more Arab backing.

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