So enough about Snoop Dogg. What does he know? Didn't he sing "Gangster's Paradise" or something? Whatever. Here are some links for your Friday morning:
President Barack Obama intends to press Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to extend the 10-month settlement "freeze" he imposed roughly eight months ago. U.S. mediators are continuing to pressure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept direct negotiations with Netanyahu and are concerned that ending the "freeze" would dissuade Abbas from meeting Netanyahu in person. U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell also recently expressed frustration with the Israeli delegations foot dragging during the ongoing indirect negotiations. The Israeli side has publicly voiced their desire for direct rather than indirect negotiations but have balked at including some of the biggest problem issues (such as Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, and final borders) on the agenda. Netanyahu and Obama will meet in Washington on Tuesday to discuss ongoing issues in the U.S.-mediated peace process.
Haaretz reports that Palestinian businessmen that own and operate tunnels used to smuggle consumer goods into Gaza under the Egyptian border have suspended operations in the tunnels to gauge whether or not the easing of the joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip will lead to the availability of cheaper goods arriving legally through Israeli-controlled border crossings. Some tunnels are still operating to bring still-banned goods such as cement, fuel, and cigarettes into the Strip. The AP, in stark contrast to the New York Times actually took some time to interview Gazans and their comments in the article are very insightful.
Finally, because I love bringing human interest peace from the Holy Land: A Team of Palestinian students in Hebron have designed a solar car capable of blazing speeds of just under 20 miles per hour. The battery also holds enough charge to maintain the car's top speed for three to five hours (if your face can withstand the wind whipping by).
That's all the links for today, have a great Friday!