* Palestinians pledge era of unity Leaders of the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have said they are entering a new era of reconciliation, after talks in Cairo.
* Barak: US must limit Iran diplo effort Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday warned that it was critical that the United States limit the time-span of its diplomatic effort to rein in Iran's nuclear drive.
* U.S. Retains Hidden Grip on Pakistan's Nukes With Pakistan's political instability spreading, nervous concern has mounted over the fate of Islamabad's nuclear arsenal should Taliban sympathizers gain power.
* War crimes charges grow, J'lem silent As various individuals and organizations file petitions abroad against Israel for alleged war crimes, including at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, there is growing criticism in Jerusalem.
* U.S.-Syria talks chart way forward The State Department's top Middle East official met Thursday with the Syrian ambassador to the United States.
* 40 days after war, Hamas rule of Gaza gaining legitimacy Three rockets fell Thursday in the area around the Gaza Strip, one in the yard of a Sderot home.
* Rice: U.S. will seek to end any 'illicit' nuclear ambitions by Iran The Obama administration will work to stop any "illicit" nuclear aspirations by Iran.* Mitchell, Netanyahu meet on peace efforts US Middle East envoy George Mitchell held a series of talks Thursday in Tel Aviv with the country's top leaders.