Asharq al-Awsat is reporting that George Mitchell is floating a plan to Mahmoud Abbas where Netanyahu will freeze all construction for five months but won't announce it publicly, and asking Abbas to negotiate under those circumstances. Abbas, for his part, continues to say that any solution must involve total capitulation by Israel to all his demands, and he told Lebanese officials that the Palestinian Arab "guests" there must remain there until the "refugee" problem is fully resolved by Israel.
The official swine flu death toll in Gaza has risen to five in three days, and Gazans are starting to panic. Newspapers reported that star anise, cinnamon and honey help prevent the flu, and now there are shortages in Gaza of star anise. Gazans are also wearing masks in public, avoiding hospitals and keeping their children home from school. Hamas is still trying to minimize the threat, possibly for the reasons I reported yesterday.
The moderate government of Mahmoud Abbas sentenced a man to death by firing squad for "collaborating" with Israel.
Hamas continues to arrest Fatah members in Gaza, with three more abducted today.
Another PalArab newspaper misquotes Ha'aretz as saying that Israel plans to demolish the Al Aqsa mosque on March 16, 2010.