Obama and Netanyahu finally meet after Gaza aid flotilla scandal; Israel to allow more consumer goods into Gaza; Thailand emergency rule extends to one-third of country; Julia Gillard proposes East Timor as centre for processing asylum seekers; Biden leaves Iraq following meetings; Somali president asks UN for help
Top of the Agenda: Obama, Netanyahu Meet in Washington
U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet (Reuters) at the White House to mend ties after a period of rocky relations over Israeli settlement policy. The meeting--postponed a month ago after a controversial Israeli raid on a Gaza aid flotilla--may help restart suspended direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestine. Iran's nuclear program will be high on the agenda, but it remains unclear whether Netanyahu will extend beyond September a ten-month Israeli moratorium on new housing in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Another deadline driving U.S. officials is the Arab League's four-month window, through mid-September, for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to show advances toward Palestinian statehood (WSJ) from indirect talks with Israel. Without a new endorsement, Abbas is unlikely to continue negotiations. Obama will press Netanyahu on the issues involved in creating a Palestinian state to help Abbas sell the idea of direct talks to skeptical neighboring Arab states.
The meeting comes a day after Israel confirmed it would allow more consumer goods to enter the Gaza Strip (BBC), which the White House called a "significant step" forward.
CFR's Robert Danin says that today's meeting between Netanyahu and Obama will focus on averting a breakdown in peace negotiations in light of September's two crucial deadlines.
In the Jerusalem Post, Ari Harow says Israel and the United States should renew their commitment to common ideals like fighting Islamic fundamentalism.
PACIFIC RIM: Thailand Extends Emergency Rule
Thailand's government extended emergency rule (Guardian) in roughly one-third of the country, including Bangkok, due to lingering fears of unrest by Red Shirt protesters.
Australia: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard proposed stemming the tide of asylum seekers to Australia (AP) by making East Timor a hub for processing UN refugee claims.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org