Don't confuse these talks with Kissinger-era shuttle diplomacy, when American envoys stayed in the region for weeks, moving back and forth to close the gaps; chief negotiator George Mitchell went home right after last weekend’s opening session and doesn’t plan to return before next week.

Israelis reacted with a measure of resignation and humor to the news that Lebanon one-upped them for the world record for the largest plate of hummus. In the latest installment of the hummus war between the countries, a team of Lebanese chefs prepared a serving of hummus that weighed in at 23,130 kilograms (59,992 pounds), setting a Guinness World Record

Perched on the stage of Al Hakawati, Jerusalem's largest theatre, four authors from the Palestine Festival of Literature shared turns reading excerpts from their texts...For patrons and participants, the idea of the festival was clear: To bring foreign writers to Palestine, and to have them interact with a Palestinian audience.

All three parties to these talks have a profound interest in a conflict-ending, two-state peace agreement. To have a realistic hope of reaching that goal, however, Israelis and Palestinians must adhere to one ground rule: Neither side can allow provocations from any quarter to abort the negotiations.

Syria is ready to reopen peace talks with Israel, with Turkey serving as a mediator, but Israel has not asked Ankara to resume that role, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Saturday.

Following concerted U.S. pressure and a message of support from the Arab League, indirect talks between Israel and Palestinian leaders are set to begin this week. Hopes for a diplomatic breakthrough, however, are low.

The Prime Minister's Office has named Ofir Gendelman as Arabic-language spokesman for public diplomacy. Gendelman will make Israel's case in the media to Arabic speaking communities.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Saudi Arabia Tuesday, trying to strengthen support ahead of a U.S. effort to start indirect peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.Saudi Arabia has played an "outstanding" role in supporting the Palestinian resolve to create "an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital."