When it comes to the latest Arab peace initiative, two questions are circulating in Washington: Why Qatar? And why now?
Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday the Arab League's acknowledgment that Israelis and Palestinians may have to swap land in any peace deal was "a very big step forward."
Syrian President Bashar Assad is likely to run for re-election next year and win, with Syria remaining in military and political deadlock until then, said the deputy leader of Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah group.
Secretary of State John Kerry said President Obama would prefer to avoid considering military action against Iran, but Iran's failure to seriously negotiate makes "confrontation more possible."
John Kerry will tour the Middle East during his first foreign tour as U.S. secretary of state, but will visit Israel two weeks later with President Obama.
“It might take two weeks or it might take a year, but either way President Bashar Assad is on his way out,” Moshe Maoz, Israel’s pre-eminent expert on Syria told The Media Line. “It’s certainly closer than it was a few months ago.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly said he wanted to negotiate with Israel it if freezes construction for six months in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Palestinians fired dozens of rockets into Israel from Gaza on Wednesday and an Israeli air strike killed a militant, a day after the Emir of Qatar made a rare visit to the enclave's Hamas leadership.
The emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, became the first head of state to visit the Gaza Strip since Hamas took over in 2007.
Is Hamas trying to change its stripes? Terrorist attacks against Israelis appear to be on pause, and rocket fire from Gaza is down significantly.
The leaders of rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed a deal in Qatar on Monday to form a unity government of independent technocrats for the West Bank and Gaza, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
United States Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is in Israel to check on joint security projects between the two countries. Napolitano visited Israel Monday and Tuesday as part of a multi-country tour that has included stops in Ireland, Afghanistan and Qatar. She will head to Belgium to meet with European Union and World Customs Organization officials, according to the Department of Homeland Security. "The United States and Israel have a strong and enduring partnership, and the reason for my visit is to make sure that all the things that we're doing in partnership with Israel -- aviation security to cyber-security, to science and technology, research that we are undertaking together focused on security -- that all of those activities are being done in a productive and robust fashion," Napolitano said Monday during a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres.
The age of terror, it seems, has sprouted an era of dialogue. A host of conferences designed to bring together East and West are cropping up everywhere.
Never before, perhaps, have so many talked so optimistically about so serious a problem. But behind all the words is one unspoken disagreement that may imperil any chance for progress.
My direct encounter with this optimism took place at a high-profile get-together, the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, in mid-April. Organized by the Qatar government and the Brookings Institution, the conference was packed with more than 150 scholars and leaders from all sides who diligently discussed both the needs and the means for achieving democracy, reforms and renaissance in the Muslim world. Strikingly, there was hardly a Muslim speaker who did not tie the implementation of such reforms to progress toward settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.