December 30th

The Associated Press weighs the challenges and opportunities facing Israelis and Palestinians as they try to conclude a final peace settlement in 2008 (1.) A New York Times editorial urges more Bush administration engagement in the post-Annapolis peace efforts stagnation (3.) Inter Press Service examines the prospects of Israeli PM Olmert remaining in office through 2008 as the consequences of the 2006 Lebanon War and peacemaking with the Palestinians stress his governing coalition (6.) Der Speigel (Germany) reports on an Israeli entrepreneur who has located his computer company's development center in the West Bank in an effort to help create a high-tech Palestinian economy (8.) BBC (UK) interviews a range of Mideast experts on the prospects of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace in 2008 (9.) A Daily Star (Lebanon) opinion by Michael Young takes issue with claims that 'neo-conservatives' still dominate and impact U.S. Mideast foreign policy (10.) An Arab News (Saudi Arabia) opinion by former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter calls for a re-evaluation of the current relationship between the U.S. and Israel in favor of one of mutual benefit (12.) A Yedioth/Ynet News opinion by Hebrew university professor Gabi Sheffer cautions Israel from a re-invasion of Gaza, urging instead serious negotiations with Syria and the Palestinians, including Hamas (14.)

December 27th

The Associated Press reports on the decision by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to continue working towards a final peace settlement despite the dispute over the Har Homa settlement (2.) The Forward examines efforts by right-wing Jewish American groups and their allies in Congress to abrogate the language of an old Palestinian document despite Israeli and mainstream Jewish American opposition to these efforts (4.) Time Magazine uses the example of the closed soft drinks factory in Gaza to illustrate how the continuing Israeli blockage of the territory is driving moderate Palestinians into the arms of Hamas (5.) A Middle East Times editorial is critical of Israeli settlement activity and checkpoints for side-tracking Israeli-Palestinian negotiations (7.) BBC (UK) reports on efforts by the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to revive peace talks (8.) A Miftah (Palestine) opinion by Ferris professor of journalism at Princeton university Daoud Kuttab analyzes how the recent weakening of the Christian Zionist movement in the United States and its effect on policy towards Israel/Palestine (10.) In Haaretz (Israel) Akiva Eldar is critical of Israeli PM Olmert's reluctance to address the Palestinian prisoner issue in any meaningful way, particularly as the issue is one of great sensitivity to all Palestinians (12.) Also in Haaretz, Shmuel Rosner and Aluf Benn examines how the Annapolis meeting and consequent efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process have exacerbated tensions between U.S. Secretary of State Rice and Israeli PM Olmert (13.) A Jerusalem Post (Israel) opinion by David Kimche hopes that 2008 will prove to be a year where Israeli leaders will rise as statesmen to make peace with the Palestinians (14.)

December 26th

The Christian Science Monitor examines the various stumbling blocks facing Israeli and Palestinian leaders as they attempt to launch a post-Annapolis peace process (1), while the Associated Press looks at how the planned Israeli expansion of the Har Homa settlement remains the largest of these stumbling blocks (3.) A Washington Post editorial urges Israeli PM Olmert and Palestinian president Abbas to seize control over the process of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking and not allow themselves to be sidetracked by issues that arise (6.) A Forward editorial equates the lobbying of the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem against any sharing of Jerusalem in a final peace settlement with the Palestinians, with opposition against any emerging Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement (7.) The Los Angeles Times looks at one Palestinian landowner's attempt to resist Israeli settlers' attempts to seize his land, emblematic of the larger picture of Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land for the settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank (8.) A Daily Star (Lebanon) editorial urges Israel to re-assess its long-standing policies towards achieving security and replace them with serious engagement with the Palestinians (11.) A Jordan Times (Jordan) editorial offers mixed reviews of the Palestinian negotiating team's response to post-Annapolis Israeli settlement expansion (12.) In Miftah (Palestine), Joharah Baker analyzes the significance of the issue of Israeli settlements to both Israelis and Palestinians (13.) A Haaretz (Israel) opinion by Amira Hass ponders whether the continued dispossession of Palestinian land will lead to another round of Israeli-Palestinian violence (15.)

December 25th

Reuters reports on the continuing complications that Israeli settlement activity is posing to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations (2.) The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs spotlights the ATFP second annual gala and the remarks of keynote speaker Undersecretary Nicholas Burns on Palestinian statehood (4.) The Jewish Telegraphic Agency examines the possibility of a prisoner exchange and ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas (7.) Inter Press Service looks at the uniquely challenging conditions facing Lebanon's undocumented Palestinian refugees (8.) The Independent (UK) reports on a good Christmas tourism season for Bethlehem (9.) A Gulf News (UAE) editorial is critical of Israel's new settlement expansion plans (12.) In Haaretz (Israel) Akiva Eldar examines efforts to resolve the Palestinian prisoner issue (13.) Also in Haaretz is an analysis of how the controversy over the Israeli settlement issue may not be settled until the visit to the region of President Bush in January 2008 (15.)

December 20th

The American Prospect examines how funds raised in the U.S. by groups like the Hebron Fund go beyond their ostensible support for Israel and perpetuate the oppressive reality of life for Palestinians in Hebron (1.) A Boston Globe editorial comes out in favor of an ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as a way to end rocket fire against Israel, and possibly being the transformation of Hamas into a political participant in the two-state solution process (3.) The Forward reports on growing U.N. concerns with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza (4.) An International Herald Tribune opinion by Eric Alterman uses the figures of the latest survey of American Jewry to point out the paradox between the values of the American Jewish mainstream and the right-wing in the community that frequently speaks for them (7.) The Economist (UK) examines the prospects of success for President Bush's upcoming tour of Middle East countries (10.) A Gulf News (UAE) opinion by former Pakistan foreign secretary Tanvir Khan analyzes the continuing uncertainty regarding Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking in spite of the positive results of the Annapolis meeting and Paris donor conference (13.) A Haaretz (Israel) opinion by Daniel Gavron urges Israel to remove unmanned roadblocks of no security function in the occupied West Bank (14.) Also in Haaretz, an opinion by U.S. ambassador to Israel Richard Jones details how peace education is critical to supporting and reinforcing Israeli-Palestinian political negotiations (16.)

December 19th

The Associated Press reports on Israeli reaction to the call by Hamas for a ceasefire with Israel (2.) The Washington Post examines the policies of separation and exclusion that Israel's non-Jewish Arab citizens face in a number of different areas (3.) In Foreign Policy In Focus, professor of politics at San Francisco university Stephen Zunes offers a mixed review of the two main arguments put forth by Professors Walt and Mearsheimer in their recently released book on the Israel lobby in the United States (4.) The BBC (UK) analyzes how much difference aid to the Palestinians can make to their daily lives (7.) The Reut Institute (Israel) publishes a post-Annapolis paper whose main contention is that the key to empowering the Palestinian Authority politically lies with Israel rather than with the international donor community (8.) Haaretz (Israel) reports on an Israeli government evaluation that extreme right-wingers in Israel will use violence to counter any illegal outpost or settlement evacuation from the occupied Palestinian territories (9.) Also in Haaretz, Amira Haas details the political jockeying behind the current Palestinian census, suspended in Gaza by Hamas (11.) An Amin (Palestine) opinion by member of the Palestinian National Council Bernard Sabella uses the occasion of the holidays to write an open letter to Israelis (13.)

December 18th

A New York Times editorial emphasizes the importance of matching financial assistance to the Palestinians with diplomatic progress in negotiations towards a final peace settlement (2.) Reuters reports on an Israeli housing ministry preliminary proposal on further settlement expansion in the Qalandia area of the occupied West Bank (4.) Americans For Peace Now present their weekly translated excerpts from the Israeli press (6.) A Toronto Star (Canada) editorial (8) and a Miftah (Palestine) opinion by Caelum Moffatt (13) join the chorus of newspapers urging Israeli easing of Palestinian movement restrictions to take advantage of funds pledged at the Paris donor conference (8.) The Australian (Australia) interviews Israeli Labor party minister Isaac Herzog on the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and the obstacles to achieving it (11.) Palestine Center for Policy and Survey Research presents its latest poll of the Palestinian people revealing a stabilization of support for Hamas due to a lack of public confidence in the Annapolis meeting (14.) A Haaretz (Israel) opinion by Nehemiah Shtrasler takes the Israeli media to task for a 'double standard' in reporting on the issue of Gaza and militant rocket fire out of it directed against Israel (15.) A Jerusalem Post (Israel) opinion by Michael Felsen urges American Jews, Israelis and Palestinians to acknowledge mistakes in their dealings with each other (17.)

December 17th

Reuters reports on how Israel's interpretation of a freeze in settlements is being translated on the ground (1.) BBC (UK) examines the steps being taken to ensure that the $7.4 billion pledged by the international community as aid to the Palestinians reaches those most in need (5.) A Times (UK) opinion by chief foreign commentator Bronwen Maddox acknowledges the importance of the Paris donor conference while stressing that realization of its benefits hinges on Israel's relaxing of its restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement (7.) The A Daily Star (Lebanon) editorial stresses the critical role of the United States in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking in the wake of the Paris donor conference (9.) In a BitterLemons (Israel/Palestine) interview, Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi ties the Israeli demand to be recognized as a Jewish state prior to negotiations to the 'demographic' issue (11.) A Haaretz (Israel) editorial urges the Israeli government to remove all roadblocks in the occupied West Bank that are hindering the Palestinian economy, in accordance with the World Bank report on the issue (12.)

December 16th

The Washington Post reports from Gaza on the increasing humanitarian toll borne by its civilian residents due to the blockade of the territory (1.) Salon sheds light on the new coalition of the religious right-wing aiming to prevent any return of sharing of Jerusalem with the Palestinians as part of a future peace settlement (3.) The Independent (UK) looks at Saudi reluctance to commit budgetary support to the Abbas/Fayyad government (5.) The Telegraph (UK) reports on statements by Palestinian president Abbas at the Paris donor conference warning of the consequences of insufficient financial support for the Palestinians (7.) An Arab News (Saudi Arabia) opinion by Jonathan Power examines Israel's excessive reliance on military power in the face of an Arab world not posing such a threat (8.) In Miftah, Caelum Moffatt analyzes the challenges facing both the two and one state solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (10.) A Haaretz (Israel) editorial sees the establishment of a Palestinian unity government as the only way to end militant rocket fire into Israel from Gaza (11.) Also in Haaretz is an examination of how the issue of removal of Israeli roadblocks in the occupied West Bank will feature prominently in today's Paris donor conference (13.)

December 12th

A Washington Times opinion by ATFP president Dr. Ziad Asali elaborates on why developing a strong and effective Palestinian security service is in Palestinian, American and Israeli interests (1.) Reuters reports on a Red Cross statement critical of the effect of Israeli restrictions on Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza (3.) In a Salon opinion, Greg Greenwald analyzes the results of an American Jewish Committee poll of American Jewish opinion and finds that rightwing opinions are held by few in the community (4), while in Inter Press Service, Jim Lobe looks at the same survey to find declining support for the establishment of a Palestinian state (8.) The Forward reviews the new book on former U.S. ambassador Kurtzer and USIP scholar Lasensky that takes a historical look at shortcomings in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking by successive U.S. administrations (6.) The Independent (UK) looks at the less than auspicious start to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks (10.) An Arab News (Saudi Arabia) opinion by Uri Avnery analyzes Israel's reaction to the recent National Intelligence Estimate report on Iran's nuclear weaponization program (12.) Haaretz (Israel) looks at a World Bank report warning that even if all donors fulfill their pledges to the Palestinians, the Palestinian economy will not improve without a relaxing of Israeli movement restrictions in the West Bank (14.) Also in Haaretz, an opinion by former Israeli FM director general Shlomo Avineri takes a historical look at the reasons for the success or failure of American foreign policy in the Mideast (15.)

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