NEWS: The Palestinian bid for membership in UNESCO threatens US funding. The mayor of New York visits Israel. After the Israel-Hamas prisoner swap, attention refocuses on security. Hamas says neither senior figures nor common criminals will be in the next group of prisoners released. Egypt says it considers Palestinian reconciliation a top priority. Quartet Envoy Blair tells Reuters the “Arab Spring” could complicate Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. Freed Palestinian prisoners are rebuilding their lives. The Israeli military recommends freeing Fatah prisoners in order to bolster Pres. Abbas. Israeli opposition leader Livni strongly condemns the prisoner swap. Israeli occupation authorities are taking more control over Palestinian textbooks in occupied East Jerusalem. COMMENTARY: Walter Pincus says the US needs to reevaluate its aid to Israel. Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu is holding all of Israel hostage to the occupation. Shlomo Avineri says antidemocratic legislation is the real threat to Israel's “Jewish character.” Bradley Burston says Israel-bashing is now acceptable in the United States if it is done from the extreme right. An Israeli diplomat to the United States explains why he gave up his American citizenship. Uri Avnery says the prisoner swap is a huge blow to Abbas. Haggai Matar says many Israelis refuse to accept the legitimacy of the occupation. Rami Khouri says the prisoner swap opens new prospects for negotiations. Jonathan Guyer says the US looks increasingly irrelevant as a Middle East peace broker.

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