• Robert Ford is your new ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic. The U.S. Senate confirmed him last night. [FP The Cable]

• Congress froze $200 million of Palestinian development aid, to the criticism of both the Palestinian Authority and the Obama administration. [BBC]

• Iran pledged to increase uranium enrichment if the West does not agree to a fuel swap deal it says it has reached with France. [DPA/Haaretz]

• In further public statements, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said Iran’s nuclear weapons program was far from its point of no return and that military action is “far from being Israel’s preferred option.” [Haaretz]

• A German mediator arrived in Cairo to try to negotiate the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. [Haaretz/Forward]

• And Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also arrived in Cairo, to try to negotiate the release of detained Israeli-American Ilan Grapel. Cairo’s taking on that Casablanca vibe, no? [AP/Haaretz]