November 3rd, 2016

ATFP News Roundup November 3, 2016

News:

Israeli planning authorities issued building permits for 181 new homes in East Jerusalem Wednesday, drawing a harsh rebuke from the United States. (Times of Israel/Ha'aretz)

The former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan is the focus of intrigue as Arab leaders seek change over the objections of Mahmoud Abbas, who has no designated successor. (New York Times)

One of the most divisive trials in Israeli history is taking place in a cramped military courtroom in a peeling mansion in the poor Arab section of Jaffa. (Washington Post)

An Israeli official accused Hamas of “exploiting” Palestinian residents of Gaza traveling to Israel to make them cooperate with the movement, and threatened to reduce access to aid in the blockaded coastal enclave if such alleged pressures continued. (Ma'an)

The Palestinian teenager who murdered Dafna Meir, a mother of six, in her West Bank home was sentenced to life in prison. (JTA)

Israeli bulldozers raided and demolished the unrecognized Palestinian Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev desert for the 105th time on Wednesday morning. (Ma'an)

Two Palestinian teachers from the occupied West Bank district of Nablus qualified to participate in the Global Teacher Prize organized by the Varkey Foundation. (Ma'an)

A senior reporter who spoke to PM Netanyahu the day of the Israeli election says Netanyahu blamed global conspiracy to oust him using U.S. super-software that locates voters. (Ha'aretz)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday accused Syrian government troops of committing "crimes against humanity" that could not be overlooked. (Reuters)

Already accused of war crimes in Syria, the Kremlin is anxious to avoid a blood bath and humanitarian crisis while ousting antigovernment forces. (New York Times

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces moved closer on Wednesday to a town south of Mosul where aid groups and regional officials say Islamic State has executed dozens of prisoners. (Reuters)

Whenever members of Islamic State's Mosul vice squad find a woman without gloves, they pull out a pair of pliers. (Reuters)

Residents celebrated their regained freedoms after the Iraqi forces’ victory over the Islamic State in their area, and the military worked to maintain order. (New York Times)

Aid agencies said on Wednesday families who have fled Mosul and surrounding towns were starting to reach displacement camps away from the fighting, as Iraqi forces press on with an offensive to retake Islamic State's last major stronghold in Iraq. (Reuters)

Almost half the population of the Middle East and North Africa would stay away from casting ballots for either Clinton or Trump if given the right to vote in next week’s US presidential election, an opinion poll revealed Thursday. (Times of Israel)

Commentary:

Ahmad Melhem says news was leaked to the media about the arrest of cell members who were plotting to assassinate three Fatah leaders, although the Palestinian security services will not reveal details on the case before the investigation process is complete. (Al-Monitor)

Steven Heydemann says President Obama shouldn’t leave his successor with no options to move ahead with diplomacy in Syria. (New York Times)

Emile Simpson says Russia has quietly been building power throughout the Middle East. (Foreign Policy)

Michael Young says the election of Michel Aoun as Lebanon’s president represents a new phase in Lebanese politics. (The National)

Rima Maktabi says the Lebanese people want to see the implementation of modern and new laws, and then electing a parliament that reflects their demands, diversity, and opinion. (Al Arabiya)

The New York Times says as more people are arrested and media outlets closed, other countries need to speak the bitter truth to Turkey. (New York Times)

ATFP News Roundup November 2, 2016

News:

Italian President Sergio Mattarella expressed on Tuesday his appreciation for the link between his country and Palestine during his first visit to the occupied Palestinian territory. (Ma'an/Times of Israel)

mountainous Palestinian community in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Al Jab'a differs in many ways from surrounding Israeli settlements but it shares one worry with its neighbors – a shortage of water. (Reuters)

PM Netanyahu says heads "most sympathetic government toward settlements" ever. (Ha'aretz)

Palestinian Authority security forces reportedly attempted to prevent an attack by one of its officers on Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint. (Ma'an/Times of Israel)

Israeli Nature and Parks Authority forces demolished several graves inside a Palestinian cemetery in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, according to local sources.  (Ma'an)

Clashes broke out between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces on Tuesday afternoon near al-Quds University in the Jerusalem district town of Abu Dis. (Ma'an)

The Palestinian soccer chief said Tuesday he would appeal to the world’s top sports court if the soccer world body FIFA fails to punish Israel over clubs based in the West Bank. (Times of Israel)

Israeli media reported that Israeli security forces “thwarted a potential stabbing attack,” after they stopped a Palestinian woman who allegedly had knives in her possession near the Ibrahimi mosque in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron. (Ma'an)

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday a Western failure to rein in violent Islamists in Syria had indefinitely delayed the resumption of peace talks. (Reuters)

All sides fighting over the Syrian city of Aleppo may be committing war crimes through indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas, U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Meeting reporters, Mr. Assad radiated confidence that he was firmly in control of his country, declaring that he planned to remain president until his term ends in 2021. (New York Times)

After Islamic State conquered villages in northern Iraq, it spelled out in minute detail the rules of its self-proclaimed caliphate, from beard length to alms to guidelines for taking women as sex slaves. (Reuters)

Islamic State militants killed 40 former members of the Iraqi Security Forces near Mosul on Saturday and threw their bodies in the Tigris river, U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said on Tuesday, citing reports from the field. (Reuters)

Iraqi forces battled Islamic State fighters on the eastern edge of Mosul on Tuesday as the two-week campaign to recapture the jihadists' last main bastion in Iraq entered a new phase of urban warfare. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia has injected more than $25 billion into the faltering Egyptian economy in two years, but ties between the two most influential Sunni nations are fraying. (New York Times)

Commentary:

Akiva Eldar says Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's "carrot-and-stick" plan promises Palestinians big punishments alongside negligible benefits, very much like the policies of the European colonial powers in Africa. (

Mohammed Othman says Hamas has released Zaki al-Sakani from prison, raising questions of whether it was part of a deal between Hamas and Mohammed Dahlan, with whom it just restored relations. (Al-Monitor)

The Washington Post says President Erdogan tramples free expression in a colossal purge. (Washington Post)

Antoun Issa says Lebanon has a new president, not that it matters. (Foreign Policy)

Abdul Rahman Al Rashed says during the years ahead, whether the war continues or peace prevails, it will not be easy for Houthis to impose themselves as a dominating power. (Al Arabiya)

November 1st

ATFP News Roundup November 1, 2016

News:

The Israeli government requested a delay in the evacuation of a West Bank settlement outpost in order to better prepare new housing for its residents. (JTA)

Fatah leader Mohammad Dahlan severely criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA) while dismissing the likelihood of a reconciliation with his former party, in an exclusive interview with Ma’an in Cairo. (Ma'an/Ha'aretz)

Members of Israel’s ruling government coalition boycotted speeches by lawmakers of the Arab Joint List at the opening of the Knesset’s winter session, and the Arab lawmakers responded by walking out on the address by PM Netanyahu. (JTA)

A Palestinian assailant shot and wounded three Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank on Monday and was killed by troops returning fire, the Israeli army said. (Reuters/JTA/Ma'an)

Israel is trying to thwart an attempt by the Palestinian Authority to join the international police force, Interpol, fearing that it would leak sensitive information to Palestinian terror groups, Israeli officials said. (Times of Israel)

Nine Palestinian prisoners continued their open hunger strikes in Israeli prisons on Monday, according to Sawt al-Asra (Voice of the Prisoners) radio. (Ma'an)

Israel’s Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) to the Gaza Strip announced on Sundaythat Israel would be increasing its water supplies to the besieged coastal enclave. (Ma'an)

The European Union’s foreign policy chief recently affirmed the right of EU citizens to boycott Israel, citing freedom of expression and rebuffing claims by Jerusalem that such measures amount to banned anti-Semitic activity. (Times of Israel)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew visited Israel for talks on the Iran nuclear deal and other issues. (JTA)

Syria's army said on Monday the Nusra Front and what the army called other terrorist groups had killed 84 people, mostly women and children, in Aleppo during the past three days, in a bombardment that included chemical weapons and rocket fire. (Reuters)

Iraqi forces prepare to break into Mosul in battle against Islamic State. (Washington Post)

Turkey wants the operation on Raqqa, Islamic State's main stronghold in Syria, to start after Mosul and Euphrates Shield operations have been completed, Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday. (Reuters)

The leader of Iraq's largest Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia expressed hope on Monday that the battle of Mosul would not be as protracted and devastating as in the one that allied Shi'ite militias are fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo. (Reuters)

An elderly Christian widow who survived two years of Islamic State rule over her northern Iraqi town said the jihadists threatened to kill her, forced her to spit on a crucifix and made her stamp on an image of the Virgin Mary. (Reuters)

The ex-general and polarizing Christian leader takes office with the support of the militant group Hezbollah, but Lebanon’s underlying turmoil is unresolved. (New York Times)

Commentary:

Adnan Abu Amer says Hamas and Egypt appear to be adjusting their attitudes toward each other, and Fatah’s dismissed leader Mohammed Dahlan probably has a role in this regard. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar says Israel's failure to publicize a decision that benefits the Palestinians shows just how preoccupied Israel’s right-wing government is about a settler backlash. (Al-Monitor)

Ben Caspit says senior IDF officers say that Israel should not have purchased three new submarines from Germany, but rather invested the money in air and ground defense. (Al-Monitor)

Mona Alami finds cause for concern in the increasing assertiveness of Hizbollah in Lebanon and Popular Mobilisation Units in Iraq – both proxies of Iran. (The National)

Evan McMullin looks at how to turn things around in Syria. (Foreign Policy)

Seth Jones asks if the Islamic State will lose Mosul and still win. (Foreign Policy)

ATFP News Roundup October 31, 2016

News:

Following the United States’ reelection to the United Nations Human Rights Council, U.S. Secretary of John Kerry criticized the body for its “biased focus on Israel.” (JTA/Times of Israel)

Leaders of Hamas announced that they had offered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a “complete vision” to achieving reconciliation between Hamas and the ruling Fatah movement. (Ma'an)

Pres. Abbas' Political Rival Dahlan Says He Won't Seek Palestinian Presidency, Backs Jailed Barghouti. (Ha'aretz)

Three Israeli Border Police officers were injured in a car ramming attack near Hebron, the fifth attempted West Bank attack in two days. (JTA)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced that Kuwait would be donating $5 million to the organization. (Ma'an)

A Palestinian allegedly carrying out a car-ramming attack was killed by Israeli forces near the village of Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron early on Sundayevening. (Ma'an)

The Israeli Foreign Ministry says relocating illegal West Bank outpost to abandoned Palestinian land would harm Israel. (Ha'aretz)

Israeli authorities have banned 5-year-old Ibrahim from visiting his father, Palestinian Muhammad Ahmad Abd al-Fatah Abu Fanunah, in prison, Abu Fanunah’s wife said to Voice of Prisoners (Sawt al-Asra) radio on Sunday. (Ma'an)

A prominent Israeli journalist and author quit his job on Sunday after a second woman accused him of sexual harassment, the first having been persuaded to go public by the raft of sexual assault allegations against U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Reuters/New York Times/JTA/Ha'aretz)

Iraqi troops and security forces edged closer to Mosul on two southern fronts on Sunday but a leader of the Shi'ite militias newly participating in the offensive warned that the battle for Islamic State's Iraq stronghold would be long and grueling. (Reuters)

Iraqi federal policemen stood over the corpse of an Islamic State suicide bomber covered by a curtain. The chain attached to his ankle was tied to a car that had dragged him through streets, they said, that were once part of a self-proclaimed jihadist caliphate. (Reuters)

Gun trucks and humvees streamed north on a highway heading to Mosul on Sunday flying the banners of Shi’ite militias along with Iraqi flags while blaring religious songs. (Reuters)

Iraqi Christians, scarred by Islamic State’s cruelty, doubt they will return to Mosul. (Washington Post)

Twenty-six years after being forced from Lebanon's presidential palace and into exile by the Syrian army, Michel Aoun is set to be elected head of state on Monday, backed by many of his old enemies. (Reuters)

An air raid by an Arab coalition killed 60 people in Yemen, including inmates of a prison near the city of Hodeidah, medical sources said. (Reuters/New York Times)

Turkey said it had dismissed a further 10,000 civil servants and closed 15 more media outlets over suspected links with terrorist organizations and U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for orchestrating a failed coup in July. (Reuters)

Commentary:

Roger Cohen says it’s easier to leave Palestinians in limbo waiting for a “peace process” that goes nowhere. (New York Times)

Mohammed Othman says Palestinians are divided over the motives behind recent coordination between Hamas and dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan. (Al-Monitor)

Avi Issacharoff says the PA president has been meeting with the leaders of Turkey, Qatar and Hamas — perhaps because his friends are abandoning him. (Times of Israel)

Aziza Nofal says a recent study found that despite the significant role foreign aid plays in the Palestinian economy, the private sector is not receiving the support it deserves. (Al-Monitor)

Uri Savir says new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will present innovative and proactive ideas for the United Nations to deepen its involvement in advancing the two-state solution. (Al-Monitor)

Yossi Beilin looks at Pres. Obama's last chance to rectify Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking failures. (Ha'aretz)

Akiva Eldar says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uses time and again the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people to sideline the issues of occupation and settlements. (Al-Monitor)

Gideon Eshet says the rhetoric between Jerusalem and Gaza may be filled with deep hatred, but it allows both governments to prove there is no solution; In the meantime, the strip's residents are paying the price. (Ynet)

Emile Hokayem says the weakening of the Islamic State will resurface more potent fault lines. (Washington Post)

Hassan Hassan highlights some underlying troubles of the battle to liberate Mosul that should worry the US-led coalition. (The National)

Hisham Melhem says the new American president will inherit a crumbling region, half of it in a state of conflagration and the other half struggling to protect itself from flames. (Al Arabiya)

October 30th

ATFP News Roundup October 24, 2016

News:

Israeli authorities ordered settlers to stop construction on a new illegal outpost in the Jordan valley district of Tubas in the northern occupied West Bank, according Israeli authorities. (Ma'an/Ha'aretz)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Turkey on Sunday for a three-day diplomatic visit. (Ma'an)

Israeli military police opened an internal probe on Friday into the killing of 15-year-old Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Thursday in Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank, after soldiers claimed he was among a group of youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. (Ma'an)

Spokesperson for the Jerusalem office of the Fatah movement Raafat Elayyan was removed from office on Saturday, soon after Fatah discharged one of its senior leaders and lawmakers, Jihad Tummaleh. (Ma'an/Times of Israel)

right-wing member of the Knesset called for revoking the citizenship of Hagai El-Ad, the director of Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, in response to El-Ad’s recent criticism of Israel's illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory before the United Nations Security Council. (Ma'an)

nonpartisan Palestinian group known as Patriots to End Disagreement and Restore National Unity organized rallies in Gaza City and Ramallah on Saturday, to urge political rivals Fatah and Hamas to put an end to their disputes. (Ma'an)

Four Palestinians arrested late last week for attending a sukkot holiday event in a West Bank settlement were freed on Sunday evening, Channel 2 News reported. (Times of Israel)

Jubbet adh Dhib, in the Israeli-controlled West Bank, has been waiting for electricity for nearly three decades. (Washington Post)

The head of the United Nations cultural agency continued to distance herself from resolutions that deny Jewish ties to Jerusalem holy sites, as another agency committee prepares to vote on a similar measure. (JTA)

The Israeli minister of culture and sports wants nothing less than an overthrow of the nation’s elite. (New York Times)

The White House is proposing the federal government add an ethnic category for people of Middle Eastern and North African descent to the US census form. (Times of Israel)

The battle for control of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo intensified on Sunday with air strikes, ground offensives and shelling, the morning after a resurgence in fighting ended a Russian ceasefire, a monitor and rebel groups said. (Reuters)

Kurdish fighters said they had taken the town of Bashiqa near Mosul from Islamic State on Sunday as coalition forces pressed their offensive against the jihadists' last stronghold in Iraq.  (Reuters)

New details from a U.S. military investigation into Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Finan's death in Iraq are illustrating the twin risks of a bomb-ridden battlefield and shifting front lines in the campaign to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State. (Reuters)

Dozens of extra analysts have been dispatched to Iraq to pore over data that could offer insight into the group’s operations and future terror plots. (New York Times)

An inquiry barred the owners of a Russian airline from United Nations business, but they won a World Food Program contract to airdrop food aid in Syria. (New York Times)

The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said on Sunday the door to electing a president was "wide open" and his members of parliament would vote for ally Michel Aoun at a parliamentary session at the end of October. (Reuters)

cartoon which appeared on social media shows a drowning Egyptian, only his hand protruding from the depths, waving for help. The next strips show President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi diving in, taking the drowning man's watch and turning away. (Reuters)

Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition attacked targets in Sanaa at dawn on Sunday, hours after a three-day truce in Yemen's war expired, residents in the capital said. (Reuters)

Commentary:

Lara Friedman says her UN Speech reflected her love for Israel but the truth about settlements. (Ha'aretz)

Uri Savir says Palestinians are following up on the possibility of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak returning to politics, while Israelis are following up on moves by exiled former Palestinian Security Chief Gen. Mohammed Dahlan. (Al-Monitor)

Asmaa al-Ghoul says civil society institutions in Palestine, which are in charge of documenting violations and providing aid for development projects, have recently come under criticism for failing to rid the Palestinians from the oppressive Hamas and Fatah regimes. (Al-Monitor)

Mazal Mualem says many Israeli politicians chose to ignore the March of Hope for fear of being branded "leftist," although participants spanned the spectrum. (Al-Monitor)

Zeruya Shalev says it looked like a mirage in the heart of the boiling desert, but the Israeli and Palestinian women who came together to wage peace are reclaiming the right to hope. (Ynet)

Adnan Abu Amer says Palestinians feel that Arab official circles are neglecting their cause, as the Israeli narrative is increasingly promoted in schoolbooks. (Al-Monitor)

Mohammed Othman says the Palestinian Cultural Palace, a cultural center created by a youth group in the Gaza Strip and aimed to preserve the cultural heritage of the Palestinian people, may not be able to flourish in light of the lack of government financial support. (Al-Monitor)

John Allen and Charles Lister says the U.S. must bring Syria’s Assad and his backers to account now. (Washington Post)

Omar Shaaban explains life under siege in Syria. (Washington Post)

Hassan Hassan looks at the challenges faced by the forces and the US in Mosul. (The National)



ATFP News Roundup October 25, 2016

News:

Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip denounced remarks made by Israeli DM Liebermanduring a rare interview with Palestinian newspaper al-Quds on Monday, calling the ultra right-wing minister's conditional offer to ease the blockade "blackmail." (Ma'an/Times of Israel/Ha'aretz)

UNRWA said that 242 refugee families in the Gaza Strip received more than $1.7 million in aid for reconstruction and repair works. (Ma'an)

member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, was killed in Gaza on Monday after an underground tunnel collapsed on him. (Ma'an/Times of Israel)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Monday in an ongoing effort to improve Turkish-Palestinian relations. (Ma'an)

Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip late on Sunday night after two weeks of discontinuous openings to let travelers in and out of the besieged Palestinian territory. (Ma'an)

Islamic State expanded its attacks on Monday against the army and Kurdish forces across Iraq, trying to relieve pressure on the militant group's defenses around Mosul, its last major urban stronghold in the country. (Reuters)

Turkish artillery fire has already played a role in the effort to drive Islamic State from the Iraqi city of Mosul and four Turkish fighter jets are on standby to take part in air operations, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday. (Reuters)

Syrian refugee children have been working in factories in Turkey making clothes for British high street retailer Marks & Spencer and online store ASOS, an investigation by BBC Panorama found. (Reuters)

Lebanon's parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, believes that even if Michel Aoun is elected president next week after a vacancy of more than two years forming a government will take from five to six months, he was quoted as saying in a newspaper on Monday. (Reuters)

The next president faces problems more daunting than any in a generation, as the old order has given way to a kaleidoscopic mix of alliances, rivalries and overlapping crises. (New York Times)

Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani, Former Emir of Qatar, dies at 84. (New York Times)

Commentary:

Ha'aretz says the occupation must end — that’s the flag that must unite Israel's opposition. (Ha'aretz)

Odeh Bisharat says "thank you, B'Tselem, for exposing the skeletons in Israel's closet. (Ha'aretz)

Shlomi Eldar says with new Israeli encroachment in the name of security and restrictions on the importation of chemicals and fertilizers, even more of Gaza's farmers are being forced to abandon their lands despite a near-total lack of other employment options. (Al-Monitor)

Ben Caspit says Russia has extended its presence in the region to such an extent that any IDF jet crossing the Israeli border in the north immediately appears on Russian military radar screens. (Al-Monitor)

Hassan Hassan says ISIS will retreat into the desert, just as it did in 2007. But can we stop it from re-emerging? (New York Times)

Josh Rogin asks if Hillary Clinton will deliver on her promise to ramp up U.S. involvement in Syria. (Washington Post)

Abdul Rahman Al Rashed says the battles of Mosul and Aleppo are just two other wars in a long struggle that will not stabilize without a fair political project. (Al Arabiya)

ATFP News Roundup October 26, 2016

News:

group of U.S. senators and congressmen have called on a UNESCO committee to vote against a second resolution that diminishes Jewish and Christian ties to the Old City of Jerusalem. (JTA)

petition urging the nullification of the recent UNESCO resolution, which strongly condemned Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, was submitted on Tuesday to the organization’s director-general by a group of Israeli organizations. (Ma'an)

Without providing prior warning or an explanation to Ramallah, Saudi Arabia has been holding back financial aid earmarked for the Palestinian Authority for over six months, senior PA officials say. (Times of Israel)

International Relations Commissioner for the Fatah movement Nabil Shaath called on Palestinians to begin a full-fledged consumer boycott of Israel in an interview with The Arab Weekly on Tuesday. (Ma'an)

leading Palestinian daily came under intense criticism Tuesday from its media peers for “normalization” with Israel — a harsh charge among Palestinians — after it published a full-page interview with Israeli DM Liberman. (Times of Israel)

Intense clashes erupted in three refugee camps Tuesday night between Palestinian youths and Palestinian Authority security forces, after a protest over the recent expulsion from the Fatah party of a Palestinian lawmaker was suppressed. (Times of Israel)

The Israeli national theater, Habima, will perform in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, sparking protests on social media by academics and artists. (JTA)

Israeli artists, academics protest national theater performance in West Bank settlement. (Ha'aretz)

Ongoing protests in the occupied Palestinian territory and around the world have demanded the release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, a Lebanese militant for Palestinian resistance who has been imprisoned by France for more than 32 years. (Ma'an)

An Israeli internal army investigation into recent incidents of Israeli soldiers killing or severely injuring Palestinians in the occupied West Bank revealed that the lives of Israeli soldiers were not at risk when 15-year-old Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr was shot to death after allegedly throwing a stone at a soldier. (Ma'an)

The union for local employees of UNRWA announced on Tuesday that a series of protests would take place in the occupied Palestinian territory after talks with UNRWA reached an impasse. (Ma'an)

Britain and France pushed on Tuesday for the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on Syrian government forces blamed for three gas attacks by an international inquiry as Syrian ally Russia said it was still studying the findings. (Reuters)

Russia said on Tuesday it would extend a moratorium on air strikes on Syria's Aleppo into a ninth day, but a monitor and a civil defense official said that rebel-held parts of the divided city had been struck in recent days. (Reuters)

An elite unit of the Iraqi army paused its week-long advance on Mosul as it approached the city's eastern edge on Tuesday, waiting for other U.S.-backed forces to close in on Islamic State's last major urban stronghold in Iraq. (Reuters)

The United States on Tuesday made its strongest indication yet that the battle to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State could be fast approaching, saying it would "overlap" with an already unfolding assault in Iraq to seize the city of Mosul. (Reuters)

The Islamic State is carrying out mass killings and using human shields. Refugees are being turned away over fears terrorist sleeper cells. Burning sulfur has sickened dozens. (New York Times)

The emaciated frame of 18-year-old Saida Ahmad Baghili lies on a hospital bed in the red sea port city of Hodaida, her suffering stark evidence of the malnutrition spread by Yemen's 19-month civil war. (Reuters)

An expanding military role and tough talk placate hard-liners even as Tehran welcomes Western investment and gradually extends new freedoms to Iranians. (New York Times)

Commentary:

Saeb Erekat says as long as Israel continues its settlements, a two-state solution is impossible. (Washington Post)

Adnan Abu Amer says Palestinian activists living abroad report being targeted for airing their criticisms on social media. (Al-Monitor)

Mohammed Othman says the conference on the Palestinian cause held in Ain Sokhna in Egypt stirred controversy among Fatah members supporting Palestinian Pres. Abbas and supporters of dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan. (Al-Monitor)

Akiva Eldar says after the executive director of Israeli human rights group B'Tselem spoke out against settlements before the UN Security Council, the resulting criticism took issue only with his call for international intervention to advance peace. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar says actor George Ibrahim appeared at the Acre Fringe Theater Festival almost 30 years after leaving the Israeli art scene and establishing the Al-Kasaba Ramallah Theater. (Al-Monitor)

Stephen Blackwell looks at the possible consequences of a collapse of ISIL in Iraq and Syria. (The National)

Cole Bunzel says the caliphate’s propagandists are digging through the Quran to prove that getting beaten back in Mosul doesn’t stray from the preordained plan. (Foreign Policy)

The New York Times says President Erdogan wants a direct role in the battle against ISIS, but his real priority seems to be defeating Kurdish separatists. (New York Times)

Joyce Karam says the Aoun-Hariri deal is a pact for power and survival by both leaders and a statement of the shifting realpolitik alliances in Lebanon. (Al Arabiya)

ATFP News Roundup October 27, 2016

News:

new version of a UNESCO resolution that strongly condemned Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinians territory was approved on Wednesday after widespread uproar from Israel. (Ma'an)

Israel is recalling its ambassador to UNESCO to Jerusalem for consultations in the wake of the adoption of a second resolution that denies Jewish ties to Jerusalem holy sites. (JTA/Times of Israel)

Trump administration will never pressure Israel into a two-state solution or any other solution that is against the will of the Israeli people,' the GOP candidate's Israel adviser tells rally. (Ha'aretz)

Prosecutors in Israel on Wednesday charged 13 people with inciting violence and terrorism after a wedding video showed far-right Jews dancing with guns and knives and guests mocking the death by arson of a Palestinian toddler. (Reuters/JTA)

Two Israeli security guards will not face charges for shooting dead a Palestinian woman brandishing a knife and her brother, the Justice Ministry said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

An Israeli court in Jerusalem sentenced a Palestinian on Wednesday to 17 years in prison for carrying out a stabbing attack in 2015 in which an Israeli soldier was moderately injured. (Ma'an)

Israeli-enforced demolitions in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Beit Hanina and Silwan on Wednesday left at least 44 Palestinians homeless. (Ma'an)

The Palestinian Authority's preventive security service arrested former spokesperson for the Jerusalem office of the Fatah movement on Tuesday night, shortly after he gave a televised interview commenting on his removal from office days earlier. (Ma'an)

The Israeli military said an Israeli soldier was wounded on Wednesday by shots fired from a vehicle traveling in Lebanon along a border fence, and troops returned fire. (Reuters)

The board of trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America reportedly will be asked to decide whether to allow its missions to Israel to visit Jewish settlements in the West Bank. (JTA)

United Nations aid chief Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council on Wednesday that the "buck stops with you" when it comes to ending the nearly six year war in Syria and he is "incandescent with rage" that no action is being taken to do so. (Reuters)

Air strikes by Syrian or Russian warplanes on Wednesday killed at least 26 people, most of them schoolchildren, in a village in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, rescue workers and a monitoring group said. (Reuters)

The warships were en route to the Mediterranean to bolster the bombing campaign against the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. (New York Times)

Islamic State militants have in recent days executed dozens of prisoners taken from villages the group has been forced to abandon by an Iraqi army advance on the city of Mosul. (Reuters)

The United States has begun using a Tunisian air base to conduct surveillance drone operations inside Libya, the latest expansion of its campaign against Islamic State militants in North Africa. (Reuters)

Commentary:

Ben Caspit says Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman granted the Palestinian newspaper al-Quds an interview in an attempt to reach out to the Palestinian public while bypassing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Al-Monitor)

Moath al-Amoudi says while some Palestinian politicos discuss creating a vice presidential position appointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a transitional safeguard, others complain that the next in line to lead must be elected. (Al-Monitor)

Ari Shavit lookss at Pres. Barack Obama’s 70-day dilemma. (Ha'aretz)

Ahmad Melhem says more Palestinian women are marrying prisoners serving life sentences in Israeli jails in what they see as an act of patriotism. (Al-Monitor)

Arad Nir says neither Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are particularly enthusiastic about implementing the reconciliation agreement between the two countries. (Al-Monitor)

Amira Hass says a look at a West Bank checkpoint 'that provides the Jews land and rights that it deprives the Palestinians of, a violence of the overlord that is intravenously fed into the veins of every Israeli.' (Ha'aretz)

David Ignatius says the U.S. pattern of recruiting local forces, then abandoning them, is at play again with the Kurdish militia fighting the Islamic State. (Washington Post)

Daniel Byman says the Islamic State is failing everywhere, except, apparently, in American politics. (Washington Post)

ATFP News Roundup October 28, 2016

News:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held a rare meeting with the heads of rival party Hamas in Qatar on Thursday, in direct talks aimed at ending years of hostility between the two movements. (Times of Israel/Ha'aretz)

The security cabinet reportedly approved a series of Palestinian building plans in Area C in the West Bank, in a vote that was held in secret in order not to anger settlers and right-wing activists. (Times of Israel/Ha'aretz)

A slew of Palestinian officials accused Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman of sowing strife among Palestinians, while trying to dethrone PA President Mahmoud Abbas by boosting his rivals. (Times of Israel)

President Reuven Rivlin of Israel visited the family of the 15-year-old boy who was killed by shots fired on the Israel-Egypt border. (JTA)

An Israeli court dropped charges on Wednesday against two Israeli security guards who shot and killed two Palestinian siblings at a checkpoint in April, ruling that there was not sufficient evidence that they had acted improperly. (Ma'an)

The state of Israel has postponed this week its decision regarding the fate of a primary school in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank, which has been threatened with demolition by the Israeli government for years. (Ma'an)

Several Palestinian youths were injured when Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas during clashes near the Shufat refugee camp in the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem. (Ma'an)

Israeli authorities temporarily decreased the number of trucks of goods allowed into the besieged Gaza Strip through the Karam Abu Salem crossing on Thursday. (Ma'an)

On a rooftop overlooking the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, around 200 American-Israeli fans of Donald Trump gathered to proclaim their support for the Republican candidate, convinced he will be Israel's best friend if elected. (Reuters)

Experts question legality of non-American donations to Israeli GOP group. (Ha'aretz)

U.S. prosecutors on Thursday said two men from Syria and Turkey have been extradited to face criminal charges that they tried to sell military-grade weapons to purported Mexican drug traffickers to help them ship cocaine to the United States. (Reuters)

Syria should investigate accusations that government forces carried out chlorine gas attacks and Islamic State militants used mustard gas, Russia said on Thursday, dimming Western hopes that U.N. sanctions could be imposed on those responsible. (Reuters)

The Iraqi army was trying on Thursday to reach a town south of Mosul where Islamic State has reportedly executed dozens to deter the population against any attempt to support the U.S.-led offensive on the jihadists' last major city stronghold in Iraq. (Reuters)

When Kurdish fighters cleared Islamic State from the northern Iraqi village of Fadiliya, some residents celebrated by passing around cigarettes - an act that would have earned them a public whipping under the group's reign of terror. (Reuters)

The European Parliament awarded Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar its top human rights prize. (New York Times)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi promised on Thursday to amend a law that human rights groups say has severely restricted protest rights and hinted at possible pardons for young people imprisoned without conviction. (Reuters)

U.N. peace proposal to end a 19-month war in Yemen appears aimed at sidelining exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and setting up a government of less divisive figures, according to a copy seen by Reuters. (Reuters)

Commentary:

Charles Krauthammer says President Obama could try to force a two-state solution before he leaves office. (Washington Post)

Ahmad Melhem says a Japanese-funded project to protect and exhibit the largest mosaic floor in the Middle East, an ancient creation dating back to the Umayyad period, promises to protect this treasure of Palestinian heritage and attract thousands more visitors to Jericho. (Al-Monitor)

Adnan Abu Amer says Hamas carried out a ministerial reshuffle in the Gaza Strip, claiming to pump new blood into the ministries as the consensus government has failed to meet its responsibilities toward Gaza. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar say Israeli physicians say that many cancer patients from the Gaza Strip are banned from entering Israel, and so they are hospitalized in Gaza where there is no adequate medical treatment. (Al-Monitor)

Mathew Reed says the United States has dramatically stepped up attacks on the caliphate’s oil production. But to win this battle, it’s going to have to go scorched earth. (Foreign Policy)

October 21st

ATFP News Roundup October 21, 2016

News:

U.S. and Egypt warn Palestinians not to push Security Council on settlements before U.S. elections. (Ha'aretz)

President Abbas is pushing for leadership elections in his Fatah movement and the PLO before the end of the year, as part of what senior officials say is largely an elaborate attempt to block the return of an exiled rival backed by several Arab states. (Times of Israel)

Israeli troops on Thursday shot dead a Palestinian whom they suspected had thrown rocks at them as they patrolled a main West Bank road, the military said. (Reuters/Ma'an/Ha'aretz)

video posted on social media on Thursday reportedly showed moments when a young Palestinian woman was shot to death by Israeli forces a day earlier. (Ma'an)

Gaza court sentenced a man to death by hanging after he was convicted of premeditated murder, while another man was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the besieged enclave for collaborating with Israel. (Ma'an)

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement said that its military wing had completed the construction of a watchtower in the besieged Gaza Strip. (Ma'an)

Israel arrested an Arab couple who returned to the country after allegedly joining the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. (JTA)

Three Palestinians who accepted an invitation to the sukkah of the head of a West Bank settlement were summoned by Palestinian Authority intelligence on Thursday to explain why they had visited “murderers of babies.” (Times of Israel)

The Syrian military said on Thursday a unilateral ceasefire backed by Russia had come into force to allow people to leave besieged eastern Aleppo, a move rejected by rebels who say they are preparing a counter-offensive to break the blockade. (Reuters)

Turkish air strikes pounded a group of Kurdish fighters allied to a U.S.-backed militia in northern Syria overnight, highlighting the conflicting agendas of NATO members Ankara and Washington in an increasingly complex battlefield. (Reuters)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pushed on Thursday for the 193-member General Assembly to hold a rare emergency special session on Syria since a deadlocked Security Council has failed to take action to end the nearly six-year war. (Reuters)

After Moscow instituted a brief cease-fire, many said leaving the besieged Syrian city could still be more dangerous than staying and exposing themselves to continued airstrikes. (New York Times)

The offensive to seize back Mosul from Islamic State is going faster than planned, Iraq's prime minister said on Thursday, as Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched a new military operation to clear villages on the city's outskirts. (Reuters)

If the recaptures of Ramadi, Tikrit and Falluja are a guide, Iraqi officials will confront devastation and unexploded bombs once Mosul is reclaimed. (New York Times)

Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen violated international humanitarian law with a so-called "double tap" air strike on a funeral gathering in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, United Nations sanctions monitors told the Security Council. (Reuters)

Shortages of sugar, a staple of the national diet, and of other products have led to brewing anger against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. (New York Times)

Commentary:

Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu prefers to ignore the fact that from a diplomatic-international standpoint, the Jewish holy sites in the Old City are under occupation. (Al-Monitor)

Cnaan Liphshiz says with the UNESCO vote, Palestinians’ bid for attention backfires. (JTA)

Aziza Nofal says sixty percent of Palestinian lands in the West Bank risk confiscation by Israeli authorities under the absentee property and abandoned lands laws, which some Palestinian activists say were issued with the aim to expand Israeli settlements. (Al-Monitor)

Fareed Zakaria looks at why Trump’s ‘sneak attacks’ won’t defeat the Islamic State. (Washington Post)

Alan Philps reviews the recent events in Syria and Iraq. (The National)

Ariane Tabatabai says U.S.-Iran relations shouldn’t take place only at the highest levels. (New York Times)

 

Simon Henderson says the only way to solve Yemen's war, and beat back its al-Qaeda franchise, is to dissolve the country entirely. (Foreign Policy)


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