NEWS: Israel's settlement expansion plans move forward in defiance of strong criticism from virtually all its allies. If completed, the new projects would seal occupied East Jerusalem off from the rest of the West Bank almost entirely and cut a Palestinian village near Jerusalem in half. All 15 missions at the UN Security Council issued statements condemning the plans, except the US one. Human Rights Watch says Israel's attacks against media journalists during the recent Gaza conflict were unlawful. A Palestinian MK is barred from running for reelection due to participating in the Gaza flotilla. Evidence suggests a recent Tel Aviv bus bombing was an effort to kill government ministers. A new poll shows a large Israeli majority still favors a two-state solution. Palestinian refugees begin returning to a besieged camp near Damascus. The cash-strapped PA borrows $100 million from banks. Palestinian officials say France and Britain are working on an initiative to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The Israeli military plans to reduce the amount of time Palestinian minors may be held before appearing before a judge. Hamas is reportedly barring the return of EU observers at the border crossing with Egypt. Naftali Bennett, head of Israel's fastest growing party "the Jewish Home," declares “We should say out loud: There will be no Palestinian state.” The Media Line looks at how Israel's tax withholding is crippling the Palestinian economy. COMMENTARY: Ari Shavit says Israel's election is a final referendum on whether or not to maintain a Jewish and democratic state. Oudeh Basharat says Hamas' extreme rhetoric is an boon to the Israeli far right. Akram Atallah says FM Lieberman's extreme rhetoric is a boon to Palestinian diplomacy. Alan Elsner says Moshe Dayan is a forgotten early champion of the settlements. Kevin Connolly says conditions seem ripe for a strong victory for PM Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli election. Joshua Gleis says Israel and the US should exploit the growing differences between Hamas and Hezbollah. Ben Caspit says a regional chaos makes Israel look like an island of stability, even as settlement expansion continues. Hani al-Masri says any effort at a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation would be a disaster. Meir Javedanfar points out that Iran has no comment on the killing of Palestinians in Syria. Michael Koplow says there is a strong element of domestic politics in Israel's settlement expansion spree. Steve Spiegel interviews PJ Dermer and Steven White on the West Bank security situation.

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