A Japanese bank has halted transactions by the Iranian government in response to a U.S. court ordering a $2.6 billion asset freeze over the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton overruled a hold by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on Palestinian aid, allowing $147 million U.S. funds to flow to the West Bank and Gaza.
The United States transferred $40 million in foreign assistance to the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has extended a moratorium on a civil conversion bill for another six months. The bill proposed last year by Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu Party allows municipal rabbis to handle conversions -- few may do so now -- and permits only the president of the High Rabbinic Court to annul a conversion. It passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset last summer. The second moratorium will expire on July 10. The first had expired on Dec. 31.
Israel should have instituted a second settlement building freeze in exchange for U.S. guarantees, Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni said on ABC News.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would reinstate a West Bank construction freeze if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
In the four weeks since direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed, settlement construction has been identified widely as the most immediate obstacle to the survival of negotiations.
The State of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are fast approaching a fork in the road.