Palestinian officials hope the upcoming visit by President Barack Obama will end the current deadlock in the peace process, but are skeptical that the visit will change the situation on the ground.
Egyptian mediators began separate talks on Monday with Hamas and with Israel to flesh out details of a ceasefire agreed last week that ended eight days of fighting in the Gaza Strip.
As Israel and Hamas mostly stilled their guns Wednesday night after reaching a cease-fire agreement, ending eight days of intense bombardment, both sides took home some new lessons about their foes.
Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense has crippled the military power of Gaza's ruling Islamist movement Hamas, the Israeli military said on Wednesday, as an Egyptian-brokered truce halted eight days of combat.
The exiled leader of Hamas said on Wednesday that Israel had failed in its "adventure" when it launched attacks on Gaza and and accepted truce terms.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged Israel and Hamas to stick to pledges under a cease-fire deal which came into effect on Wednesday to end the eight-day conflict around the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Wednesday that if an Egyptian-brokered truce with Islamist militants in Gaza did not work Israel would consider "more severe military action" against the Palestinian territory.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday and pledged to work for a truce in the Gaza Strip "in the days ahead."
Israel is prepared to escalate its Gaza Strip offensive but would prefer a long-term diplomatic solution to the threat of rockets from the Palestinian enclave, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.
A ceasefire deal with Gaza militants has not been finalized and the "ball is still in play", Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told CNN on Tuesday.
Israel reportedly has held off on a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip in order to give cease-fire talks a chance to work.
Palestinian militants indicated they were ready for a truce with Israel on Monday to defuse a growing crisis after four days of rocket strikes from the Gaza Strip into the south of the Jewish state.
Syrian jets bombed parts of Damascus on Monday in what residents said were the capital's fiercest air raids yet, at the end of what was supposed to be a four-day truce.
Four rockets were fired from Gaza at a Jewish community in the Negev.
Rockets continued to fall on southern Israel despite a truce with Gazan terrorist groups.
An Israeli air strike killed a Palestinian militant and wounded two men in the Gaza Strip on Friday, Israel and Hamas medical officials said, two days after an Egyptian-brokered truce had calmed an outbreak of cross-border violence.
Palestinian Hamas militants announced on Wednesday they were ready to stop the latest round of cross-border violence as long as Israel followed suit, in a statement issued after Israeli air strikes killed two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in a third day of fighting.
Syrian opposition activists called mass protests for Friday to test a fragile, day-old ceasefire by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, and international pressure mounted for Damascus to fully comply with a U.N.-backed peace plan.
An Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and militant groups in the Gaza Strip was largely observed on Tuesday after four days of violence in which 25 Palestinians were killed and 200 rockets were fired at Israel.
Israel and militant factions in the Gaza Strip have agreed to an Egyptian-mediated truce to end four days of cross-border violence in which 25 Palestinians have been killed, a senior Egyptian security official told Reuters on Tuesday.
Israel offered on Thursday to investigate jointly with Egypt the killing of five Egyptian security personnel during an Israeli operation against cross-border raiders a week ago, violence that has strained relations with Cairo's new rulers.
In an address Saturday night, Israel's prime minister, flanked by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, asked the Israeli public to unite around the Israel Defense Forces operation that began in Gaza earlier in the day.
" . . .If insulting community organizers, making snide remarks about Sen. Barack Obama's popularity and mocking the location of Obama's acceptance speech make her [Palin] presidential material, then America is in serious trouble . . ."
Israeli officials said Egypt has agreed to hold off on opening its border with Gaza -- a key Hamas demand -- until there is progress in talks on Shalit's return. The IDF is expected to be ready for a last-resort invasion of Gaza, if the cease-fire fails.
Israeli strategic thinkers are deeply divided over the implications of the truce between Israel and the Gaza-based Hamas fundamentalists. But whatever their perspective, most agree that it could have a profound impact on the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Criticism of the Hamas-Israel truce by the parents of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is fueling public debate in Israel about the efficacy of the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip absent Shalit's return.
Hamas' armed wing, which lost a gunman to an Israeli airstrike just hours before Thursday¹s truce began, also has said it is ready to resume attacks. The terrorist group has made no secret of its plan to use the quiet of the cease-fire to stockpile weapons and train fighters.
With a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas expected to take effect this week, the question is what impact -- if any -- such a deal will have on the wider efforts to reach accommodation with the Palestinians.
Leaders on both sides are optimistic. They see Olmert's moves as part of a new and wider American plan for Israeli-Palestinian accommodation.
On May 30, the United States Postal Service issued a series of new stamps honoring six career State Department diplomats who earned the gratitude of this nation for taking "risks to advance humanitarianism...[and] peace," even if their actions put themselves "in harm's way."
According to last week's Shin Bet report, arms smuggling into Gaza has skyrocketed sixfold since Israel left during the summer. In the West Bank, terrorists have already test fired a rocket in a bid to emulate the tactics of their Gazan comrades.
As Israel and the Palestinians begin a long-awaited truce, both sides are holding their breath -- and wondering what the United States will do next to advance the "road map" peace plan.