December 15th

Tony Blair joins the IMF and World Bank in urging Israel to ease the pressure on the Palestinian banking system (1). An op-ed in the Financial Times by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad encourages business development as a key to Palestinian independence (2). The United Nations Security Council is set to adopt a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (3). The Palestinian Prime Minister is joined by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in urging a halt to Israeli settlement activity (4) (5). Hamas announces that the ceasefire with Israel will not be renewed when it expires later this week (7). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to announce a date for presidential and parliamentary elections (8).

December 12th

The Economist examines the spasm of settler violence in Hebron following last week's building evacuation (1). In an article for the New Republic, Shmuel Rosner discusses the implications of a possible Netanyahu-led government in Israel (2). MJ Rosenberg expresses hope that President-elect Obama can bring a new vision to the American-Israeli relationship (3). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to hold a 'farewell' meeting with outgoing President Bush in Washington next week (4). Wednesday's release of a settler caught on film shooting Palestinians in Hebron is challenged in arguments before the Israeli Supreme Court (6).

December 11th

ATFP Senior Fellow Ghaith al-Omari discusses the Arab Peace Initiative in an article for Middle East Progresss (1). The BBC reports on the plight of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon (2). A recent poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research shows that a majority of Palestinians favor holding elections in 2009 when President Abbas' term ends. (3) (4). Two opinion pieces, one by Daily Star columnist Michael Young and the other by ATFP Board member George Hishmeh, join the ongoing speculation about President-elect Obama's Middle East strategy (5) (6). United States Gen. Keith Dayton praises the capabilities of the Palestinian Security Forces (8).

December 10th

The Arab World’s first stand-up comedy festival is held in Amman, Jordan (1). In an interview with The Chicago Tribune, Barack Obama pledges to reach out to the Muslim world during his presidency (2). Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party is accused by rivals of promoting extremism and isolation (4). Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari urges President-elect Obama to make Middle East peace a top priority for his administration (5). An Israeli settler, filmed shooting at Palestinians in the West Bank town of Hebron, is freed by a Jerusalem court (6). Israel approves a money transfer to the impoverished Gaza strip (7).

December 9th

The Christian Science Monitor examines the recent settler violence in Hebron (1). Israel reopens Gaza crossings to international journalists and humanitarian aid (2). Israel again threatens Gaza over rocket attacks (3) (8). President Bush extends the national security waiver keeping the U.S. Embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv (4). An op-ed in The Daily Star suggests high hopes for Gen. Jim Jones, the National Security Advisor designate (6). An ATFP translation of a Hassan Khader article in Al-Ayyam daily examines the struggle between the Palestinian national movement and Hamas (10).

December 8th

Speculation about President-elect Obama's Middle East strategy continues as his team is assembled (1) (5) (10) (11). In blockaded Gaza, cash shortages prompt a dire warning from the World Bank about the potential collapse of the commercial banking system (2) (8). Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem experience increased pressure and tensions (3). A report issued by an Israeli human rights group likens the Israeli occupation to South African apartheid (6). American Jewish groups largely back Israel's recent decision to evacuate settlers from a Hebron building (7). Israel reimposes the ban on international journalists entering Gaza, despite much protest (9).

December 5th

The Forward looks at possibilities for US-Syrian diplomacy under incoming President Obama (1). Haaretz interviews Prof. Rashid Khalidi (2). Israeli troops confront and evict settlers in Hebron (4, 5, 7, 10). The plight of Palestinians in Gaza continues to draw international attention (3, 9). The Middle East Times examines prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian Confederation (11).

December 4th

New York Times columnist Helene Cooper examines the options for the location of President-elect Obama's planned speech in a major Muslim capital city (1). Jewish settlers fear a future Israeli withdrawl from the West Bank (2), meanwhile police evict settlers from a house in Hebron (3). Israel agrees to allow some humanitarian aid into the blockaded Gaza strip (4). Reuters interviews Palestinians who report alleged abuse in West Bank jails (6). MJ Rosenberg urges President-elect Obama to appoint a Middle East envoy charged with implementing the Arab peace initiative (8).

December 3rd

An Israeli airstrike kills two Palestinian youths in southern Gaza (1). An Israeli military court convicts the Speaker of the Palestinian parliament of being a member of Hamas (2). The humanitarian situation in Gaza grows increasingly desperate (3) (4) (7). Following yesterday's violent protests, settlers in Hebron prepare for a forceful evacuation from the city center by Israeli forces (5) (6). Hamas frees three Palestinian journalists it arrested last month for allegedly fabricating stories that were critical of the party (8). The Palestinian Authority announces plans to replace the leadership of all Hamas-controlled town councils in the West Bank (11). An op-ed in Haaretz encourages the incoming Obama administration to help rid Israel of its "territorial addiction" (12).

December 2nd

An op-ed in the New York Times suggests that Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton should apply "tough love" to Israel and pressure for a withdrawal from the Occupied Territories (1). The UN accuses Israel of punishing international aid workers along with the citizens of Gaza (2). Palestinians are killed by Israeli forces in Gaza and Nablus (3) (4) (5) (9). The West Bank reportedly has seen an economic surge over the past year (6). Haaretz journalist Amira Hass is arrested by the Israeli police for entering Gaza without a permit (7).

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