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As Mousawi has remained in hiding for the last few days, the riots have lost momentum. Less than a thousand protestors gathered near the Iranian parliament, few enough that the government could afford a showdown with live bullets and tear gas.

On behalf of the government, Barak offered Mitchell to freeze natural growth in the settlements except for a few projects where construction had already progressed above the ground floor.

Sarkozy, a year ago touted as a great friend of Israel, condemned even such a minimal concession.

Israel released Abdel Aziz Dweik from jail, where he had been held on trumpeted-up charges in a failed attempt to use him as a bargaining chip for the kidnapped Cpl. Shalit.

Dweik, a Hamas member, is the speaker of the Palestinian parliament. When Abbas’ presidential term expired, Dweik automatically became acting president of the Palestinian entity.

Hamas confirmed that it views Dweik as the legitimate president.

Netanyahu needs a clearly dysfunctional Palestinian government to relieve us of the peace-process pressure. His policy is highly risky: left with no other peace options, the US may choose to engage Hamas on the Islamist group’s terms.

As Israeli media beat their collective chest over Cpl. Shalit’s third year of captivity, few remember that two soldiers died in the attack: Paul Slutzker and Hanan Barak.

If the death toll had been three rather than two, the 1,700 Palestinian terrorists slated for the exchange would continue rotting in jail.