In a major departure from the policy of the Mubarak regime, Egypt's official news agency has announced that, as of Saturday, May 28, 2011, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza will be permanently opened. The border's periodic openings and closings over the decades have reflected tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Territories — and an agreement between Israel and the Mubarak regime.
Saudi Arabia has played a behind-the-scenes role in fighting the revolutions sweeping through the Middle East this spring, propping up unstable neighbors like the Sunni minority government in Bahrain. But King Abdullah’s government is also fragile; and after watching the U.S. government turn against former allies like Hosni Mubarak, the king is concerned that he might not have American support for long. Martin Indyk, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Director of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, believes that President Obama needs to renew his relationship with Saudi Arabia – and guide King Abdullah toward a more open government.
The biggest leak of confidential documents in the history of the Middle East reveal that Palestinian negotiators secretly told Israel it could keep swathes of occupied East Jerusalem. Thousands of pages of confidential Palestinian records of negotiations with Israel and the U.S. have been published by the Guardian and Al Jazeera. The Guardian’s Middle East editor Ian Black says the documents show a weak and desperate Palestinian side offering a string of concessions that will shock Palestinians and the wider Arab world.The former United States Ambassador to Israel and director of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institute, Martin Indyk, disagrees.