June 30th

A report by Human Rights Watch criticizes Israeli drone strikes carried out during the Gaza war (1). Several articles assess the issues involved in a potential Israeli settlement freeze (2) (3) (7) (12). Mohammad Yaghi looks at the financial crisis within the Palestinian Authority (5). The Palestinian Authority reports that Hamas had allegedly planned attacks on PA officials in the West Bank(9) (16). Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is set to begin talks with Special Mideast envoy George Mitchell in New York today (10) (15). A poll released today shows support for Hamas is waning among Palestinians (18).

June 29th

The New York Times reports that Israel may be willing to accept a temporary halt to settlement activity as part of a broader Mideast peace endeavor (1), as tension continues to build over the proposed freeze (7) (8). The Los Angeles Times features a backgrounder on Israeli settlements in the West Bank (3). The U.N. fact-finding commission begins its hearing on allegations of war crimes during the Gaza war (4). The International Red Cross issues a report saying that the 1.5 million residents of Gaza are "trapped in despair" in their current conditions, especially children (9). Israel approves construction of 50 new homes in an existing West Bank settlement to absorb the evacuees of the Migron outpost (13) (14) (17). Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak heads to Washington to meet with Mideast envoy George Mitchell in a bid to resolve the settlements dispute (15) (18).

June 26th

An op-ed in the Washington Post looks at how private American support is central to Israeli settlement activity (1). The U.S. rejects criticism from Hamas on the pace of the peace process (4). The BBC looks at how industry in Gaza continues to struggle, six months after the war (6). Foreign Ministers from the G8 back international calls for a full Israeli settlement freeze (7), as the Quartet prepares to make a similar statement today (9) . Israeli officials play down reports that they are close to reaching an agreement with Hamas on the release of Gilad Shalit (8).

June 25th

The Israeli army announces plans to limit incursions into four West Bank cities in recognition of major improvements in Palestinian security force capabilities (1). The Arab League embraces President Obama’s vision for Middle East Peace (3). Former Bush administration official Elliott Abrams claims that there was a US-Israeli “understanding” allowing for settlement construction when Ariel Sharon was Israel’s Prime Minister, although Secretary of State Clinton has stated categorically that there is no record of any such agreement (5). Several articles assess the impact of continuing tensions over Israel's unfulfilled Roadmap commitment to a settlement freeze (6) (7) (11) (12). The National examines the most recent rift between Fatah and Hamas (10).

June 24th

Middle East Progress discusses the issue of Jerusalem with former Canadian Ambassador Michael Bell (1). A Paris meeting between Mideast Envoy George Mitchell and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is cancelled, as tensions continue over a settlement freeze (3) (4) (16). The Associated Press finds that more than a third of “natural” growth in existing settlements is due to Israelis migrating into the West Bank (5). Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s recent speech draws a strong reaction from within the Palestinian government (6). Russia announces that it will try to hold a Mideast Peace conference before the end of the year (9). The Israeli military removes several roadblocks in the West Bank (13).

June 23rd

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad delivers a speech calling for unity, institution building, and an independent state within two years (1) (2). The Hamas-affiliated speaker of the Palestinian parliament is released from an Israeli prison after serving the majority of his three year sentence (4). Israel authorizes the building of 300 new homes in an existing West Bank settlement (4) and reportedly is formulating plans to "legalize" 60 homes at a currently unauthorized West Bank outpost (5). The Italian foreign minister urges a halt to Israeli settlement expansion (7), as the U.S. State Department clarifies that a full settlement freeze must include Jerusalem (8). In an op-ed for The Daily Star ATFP Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish urges the creation of a real American coalition for Middle East Peace (10).

June 22nd

Lara Friedman and Hagit Ofran counter popular arguments for opposing a full Israeli settlement freeze (1). The Los Angeles Times speculates on how public disagreement with Israel will impact President Obama’s image (2). On Ibishblog.com Hussein Ibish examines the role of outrage in politics (5). Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak voices his optimism about peace talks (6). The AP looks at the Gaza Strip, two years after Hamas took power (7). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announces that he will free all Hamas prisoners before the renewal of inter-factional talks (11).

June 19th

The Wall Street Journal features an op-ed on the peace process by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (1). Controversy continues over planned Israeli expansion in the E1 area of East Jerusalem (3). Saree Makdisi questions how language is manipulated in order to absolve Israel from its responsibilities (5).With the Gaza blockade on construction materials some Gaza residents are building homes out of mud (6). A recent poll finds that an increasing percentage of Israelis view President Obama as ‘pro-Palestinian’ (7). Quartet envoy Tony Blair expresses his optimism that, with cooperation from all sides, a peace deal could be reached ‘within the year’ (9). The Media Line interviews Congressman Keith Ellison (11).

June 18th

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman meets with Secretary of State Clinton in Washington (1). The Christian Science Monitor features an op-ed by Norwegian foreign minister, Jonas Gahr Store (4). An Israli military court decides to release the jailed Hamas speaker of the Palestinian parliament in two months when his sentence ends (8). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas encourages peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation (9). Former President Jimmy Carter meets with Hamas officials, but fails to convince them to recognize Israel (10). A group of international human rights organizations hold a press conference decrying Israeli restrictions on Gaza trade (13), as the U.S. increases its pressure on Israel to end the blockade (14).

June 17th

As the debate over an Israeli settlement freeze continues (5), The Washington Post discusses a 1979 State Department legal opinion, that found the settlements to be “inconsistent with international law” (1). Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent policy speech continues to draw varied reactions (3) (8) (10). Israel’s internal security minister apologizes after being recorded using an offensive Arab slur word (4). Quartet envoy Tony Blair says that Israel’s delay in setting up a proper mobile phone network is restricting West Bank development (6). The IDF is set dismantle a crossing near Jericho (9), while a right-wing Israeli group announces its plan to construct 30 new outposts in the West Bank this summer (11). A Haaretz poll finds that 64% of Israelis support a peace based on two states (12).

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