• The Arab League, which had said it would back direct talks if Palestinian President Abbas did, now says it is not backing direct talks because Abbas isn’t. [WP]
• Yet! Western officials believe Abbas will reverse his position and agree to direct talks in the next month. [Ynet]
• Syrian President Bashar Assad visits Lebanon today, for the first time in five years, to meet with Lebanon’s and Saudia Arabia’s leaders. The summit seems connected to the impending international indictments for the assassination of a former Lebanese leader, for which Syria was credited. [WSJ]
• Not wanting to fall behind the Western Joneses, Australian imposed its own sanctions on Iran. [Jewish Journal]
• The Jordan River spot where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Jesus has become too polluted for use. [WP]
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.