Direct talks are launched. PM Netanyahu is taking personal charge of Israel's strategy. The NYT asks a number of experts about settlements and settlers. Hussein Ibish and Michael Weiss look at Palestinian state building. Hussein Agha and Robert Malley say asymmetries in power complicate the negotiations. Pres. Abbas says now is the time for peace. The CSM says Jerusalem is the trickiest issue. Palestinians get unlikely support from some settlers. Settlers across the West Bank begin construction in defiance of government restrictions. Hamas claims responsibility for another West Bank shooting, and the PA vows to “hit them with an iron fist.” Avi Issacharoff says Abbas is a real partner in peace for Israel. Israeli officials in Jerusalem authorize headquarters for an Israeli volunteer rescue unit in a sensitive Palestinian neighborhood. 150 Israeli academics say they will boycott settlements. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid wishes Abbas success. The National says extremists on both sides have nothing to offer.

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