Israeli and Palestinian leaders express optimism after the resumption of direct talks. Drive-by shooting attacks show Hamas is still able to operate in the West Bank. Daoud Kuttab says Palestinian independence is inevitable. Palestinian leaders angrily reject Iranian criticism of negotiations, and have asked the US to intervene on the settlement issue. Todd Gitlin and Liel Leibovitz say both sides must acknowledge each other's attachment to the land. The CSM says Palestinian and Israeli leaders must work together to block extremists. Palestinian officials say they are trying to reach a peace agreement and Israeli officials say one is possible within a year. FM Lieberman pushes for new settlement construction. Shaul Arieli says settlement construction hurts Israel. Egypt says $50 billion will be needed to pay for Middle East peace. Bradley Burston says religious extremists are enemies of humanity. The IMF says loosened Israeli restrictions have prompted Palestinian economic growth. Avi Shlaim says American intervention in negotiations is critical. The US temporarily restricts diplomats from traveling in the West Bank. Israeli authorities are accused of discriminating against Arabs in Jerusalem. Adel Al Toraifi says Palestinian state building is of paramount importance. Hussein Ibish looks at arguments for including Hamas in negotiations and its likely consequences.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017