1. NOAM CHOMSKY: On May 16, 2010, the longtime critic of the US and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was denied entry to the Palestinian Territories. He was on his way to give a lecture at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah in the West Bank. The Israeli ministry later said it had misunderstood Mr. Chomsky’s reasons for visiting and assumed he wanted to visit Israel proper as well. Sascha Schuermann/AFP/DDP/Newscom/File
2. iPAD: On April 3, 2010, Apple launched the iPad, which was promptly banned from Israel, apparently because it was too powerful. "This device's wireless strengths violate Israeli law and will overpower other wireless devices in Israel," Communications Ministry spokesman Yechiel Shavi said at the time, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. The ban was lifted in late April, though not until a number of iPads were confiscated at Ben Gurion airport. Balkis Press/ABACAPRESS.COM/Newscom/File
3. RICHARD FALK: On Dec. 14, 2009, the American professor appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian areas was barred from entering Israel on the grounds that his mandate was “profoundly distorted and conceived as an anti-Israel initiative,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said at the time. Mr. Falk was detained at Ben Gurion airport for 30 hours before being released on a flight back to Geneva, according to Reuters. CEM TURKEL/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom/File
4. CAT STEVENS: In October 2008, the British musician turned Muslim peace activist planned to visit Tel Aviv for a peace concert to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Peres Centre for Peace, an organization backed by Israeli President Shimon Peres. He was later uninvited. Cat Stevens, who converted to Islam in 1977 and changed his name to Yusuf Islam, was also refused entry to Israel in 2000 for allegedly providing funding to the Palestinian militant organization Hamas. PETER MUHLY/AFP/Newscom/File
5. NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: On May 23, 2008, the noted scholar, author of “The Holocaust Industry,” and fierce critic of Israeli policies was barred from entering Israel after he visited Lebanon and met with Hezbollah officials. He was detained and questioned for 24 hours and then deported, The Guardian reported at the time. Ramzi Haidar/AFP/Newscom/File
6. JIMMY CARTER: In April 2008, the former US president was allowed into Israel, but was not permitted to visit the Gaza Strip to meet with members of the Islamist movement Hamas, which the US classifies as a terrorist organization. A member of Carter's delegation in the West Bank city of Ramallah said Israel rejected the request, according to Reuters. Carter published a book in 2006, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," accusing Israel of practicing apartheid against the Palestinians. Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye/Newscom/File
The US announced steps toward a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas Wednesday, but the leader of Hamas insisted the Islamic militants would not relent until their main demand of lifting an Egyptian-Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is met.
ByIbrahim Barzak and Tia Goldenberg, Associated Press
The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.