December 23rd

NOTE: The ATFP Daily News Roundup will resume publication on Tuesday, January 3. Happy holidays. NEWS: Israel has literally 101 types of permits governing the movement of Palestinians living under occupation. The PLO tells the quartet it will resume its UN statehood bid activities if there is no movement on the peace process within the next month. Palestinian groups establish a committee to consider restructuring the PLO, possibly including Hamas and other groups. Hamas says such a deal would strengthen both Palestinian parties and the PLO in its negotiations with Israel. Analysts and even Hamas officials say the group is responding to a deep crisis. UNESCO cuts funding to a Palestinian magazine that published an article sympathetic to Hitler. Israel's mayor in Jerusalem says he wants to shift the city's municipal boundaries to approximate the West Bank separation barrier. Congress earmarks $235 million for Israeli antimissile systems. Gazan Christians complain Hamas has effectively banned Christmas celebrations. Hamas leader Mishaal touts non-violent protests but does not renounce violence. American Charities for Palestine donates $27,000 to St. John's Eye Hospital in Jerusalem to combat blindness among Palestinians. COMMENTARY: Yoel Marcus says PM Netanyahu's choice of advisers is a source of real concern. Abdelrahman Al Ahmar describes life under the occupation and how Israel came to define him as a “terrorist.” Ha'aretz says settlers might see dismantling of unauthorized outposts as an injustice, but they violate Israeli law. Omar Ghraieb says a drug-related double-murder has shocked the Gaza Strip. Jay Bushinsky says Israel's diplomacy is being undermined by behavior in the occupied territories that does not conform to international norms. Frida Ghitis says Israel is suffering from self-inflicted wounds. Joseph Dana looks at the writings of jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti.

December 22nd

NEWS: Israel accuses foreign countries of “meddling” in its internal affairs. Hamas is showing signs of adjusting its positions and alignments in the wake of the Arab uprisings, and has agreed in principle to join the PLO. Israel and the PA are competing for tourist dollars. Hamas denies that Khalid Mashaal criticized Yousif al-Qaradawi's statements on Syria. The PA is planning a major desalinization plant for the Dead Sea. Israeli extremists say former PM Sharon's stroke was caused by the unilateral redeployment in Gaza. The State Department says statements at the UN aren't advancing the cause of peace. Israel issues a statement supporting resumed US aid to the PA. PM Netanyahu's office says it is “shocked” to find Pres. Abbas meeting in Turkey with some former Palestinian prisoners. American Charities for Palestine delivers $10,000 to support the work of the Four Homes of Mercy in Palestine. COMMENTARY: Amir Oren says Netanyahu is failing in his stated mission to “save Israel.” Natasha Mozgovaya looks at the political dynamics in the Jewish Reform movement. The Media Line says Palestinian patients are being treated by Israeli doctors, breaking down suspicions. Maura Judkis looks at the controversy over a pro-Palestinian art exhibit in Switzerland and Artinfo interviews Larissa Sansour, the artist in question. Jonathan Schanzer looks at how Hamas is responding to regional pressures. Barak Ravid says Netanyahu's links to Republican candidates and the US Christian far-right are intensifying. Roula Khalaf says everything about Egypt's foreign policy, including its relations with Israel, has been thrown into question. Ahmad Tibi says the world is beginning to understand the Palestinian need for statehood.

December 21st

NEWS: Hamas officials say six steps towards reconciliation have been agreed and that Palestinians have formed a committee to oversee new elections. Israel faces strong criticism for settlement activities from UN security council members. The PA has signed a free trade agreement with the South American trading bloc Mercosur. Israel pledges to release 1 billion cubic feet of water to restore the Jordan River. The Israeli government's watchdog agency says the country is ill-prepared for war. Egypt shuts the Gaza border crossing after a dispute with Hamas. Pres. Assad reportedly refuses to meet with Hamas leaders and Iran has cut funding to Gaza. Major Jewish-American donors are reportedly sticking with Pres. Obama. The BBC profiles the 'Iranian Schindler' who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis during World War II. A war of words is escalating between the Israeli government and the New York Times. COMMENTARY: Zvi Bar'el says only the Israeli military can convince the public of the dangers of Jewish terrorism. Amira Hass says Palestinians are heros for resisting the occupation. Moshe Ronen says its simply a fact that Israeli law and law enforcement favors Jews. Ron Kampeas says Vaclav Havel will be remembered as a friend of Jews and Israel. Scott Bobb says the peace process is totally deadlocked. Victor Kotsev critiques Israel's response to the Arab uprisings. BrandeisNOW interviews Khalil Shikaki. Leonard Fein looks at a growing "distancing" between younger Jewish Americans and Israel. Elliott Abrams criticizes Iceland's resolution recognizing Palestine.

December 20th

NEWS: Israelis complain that Palestinians are sending anti-peace messages. Palestinians and Israelis compete for tourist foreign-exchange. A new poll suggests that very few Palestinians think national reconciliation talks will succeed. Israeli settlers vandalize a Hebron mosque. The PA says occupation forces have destroyed key roads leading to Nablus. A released Palestinian prisoner continues to assert that the rabbi he was convicted of trying to assassinate deserves to die. Egyptian Salafists pledge to maintain the peace treaty with Israel. A major Palestinian citizens of Israel poet,Salem Jubran, passes away. The BBC profiles a Palestinian long-distance runner from Gaza. COMMENTARY: Aner Shalev says Israeli leaders are also part of the “greater Israel” movement. Salman Masalha looks at early Arab efforts to understand Zionism. Gershon Baskin says I'm seeing to decide what they mean about “normalization.” James Adler says Israel needs to stop seizing land in occupied East Jerusalem. Amal Jamal says there can be no self-determination without democracy. Hussein Ibish questions how far Hamas will really go in response to the regional realignment in the Middle East. Ephraim Sneh says sanctions will accelerate the collapse of the repressive regime in Tehran.

December 19th

NEWS: Israel completes the second phase of the prisoner swap. Israel plans more than 1000 new settler housing units. The CSM profiles still-jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti. A new Israeli law funding museums in the occupied territories may be another sign of creeping annexation. At least one person is killed in clashes at a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Hamas and Fatah leaders will meet again in Cairo on Thursday to discuss reconciliation. An Israeli court rules against evicting two Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem. Pres. Abbas says some Hamas leaders have committed to nonviolent resistance and a state based on the 1967 borders, and other Hamas officials confirm this to the Guardian but say it will not recognize Israel. AP says it cannot find any evidence for Newt Gingrich's claims about Palestinian textbooks. COMMENTARY: Former Sen. John E. Sununu says Gingrich has revealed his bigotry. Jeremy Ben-Ami says it's time to redefine what “pro-Israel” means. Victor Batarseh says the people of Bethlehem are celebrating hope this year. Akiva Eldar says Israel can be Jewish without being racist. Susan Hattis Rolef says young Israelis don't seem to understand the concepts behind democracy. Jeff Barak says Israeli democracy is under increasing attack from religious and settler extremists. Adel Safty says Gingrich has demonstrated extreme historical ignorance. Uri Avnery says with "friends" like some Republican presidential candidates, Israel doesn't need any enemies. Mkhaimar Abusada says a third party must intervene to break the diplomatic deadlock. Juliette Kayyem says Gingrich should pay attention to Israeli silence on some of his comments.

December 16th

NEWS: Israeli police say some Jerusalem election results should be canceled after Jewish extremists prevented women from voting. US aid to the PA will continue provided it does not press for further recognition at the UN. Palestinian factions say they are reaching a “last chance” at reconciliation. Iceland becomes the first Western European state to recognize Palestine. Israel is unifying its “special forces” under a single uniform command. AP looks at Israel's long history of failing to rein in Jewish extremists. Hamas introduces plastic money into the Gaza economy. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says Palestinians “have to prove they deserve a state.” One third of all Israeli occupation forces are now deployed to combat Jewish extremist settlers. DM Barak will meet with Pres. Obama Friday morning. COMMENTARY: Yoel Marcus says Israel's extreme right is a primary threat to peace. Uri Saguy says terrorists, including Jewish ones, should be shot. PM Netanyahu’s senior adviser Ron Dermer writes letter to the New York Times saying the prime minister will not write for them. Nathan Guttman says by sending Barak to the US, Israel is showing its “friendly face.” Liam Hoare says it's inexcusable that Israeli nationalists would find common cause with European Islamophobes. Ahmad Majdoubeh says the Arab League needs to come out of hibernation on the issue of Palestine. The Arab News is skeptical Israel will really crack down on extremist settlers. Lara Friedman says Israel is finally waking up to settler extremism. Dilshod Achilov is interviewed on the future of Hamas' relationship with Syria and Iran.

December 15th

NEWS: PM Netanyahu says Israel may subject violent settlers to military trials, but says he does not consider them “terrorists.” Israeli experts say the new “crackdown” is a "bluff,” and unlikely to change the status quo in the occupied territories. Extremist settlers torch another mosque in the occupied West Bank. Pres. Abbas says Israeli-Palestinian peace is the key to Middle East stability. Analysts think Israel is unlikely to launch a major offensive in Gaza in the immediate future. Sec. Clinton says Newt Gingrich's recent verbal attacks on Palestinians were “unhelpful.” At a Gaza rally, Hamas leaders again call for the elimination of Israel. A New York-based charity is accused of helping fund settler violence. COMMENTARY: Tom Perry says both Fatah and Hamas are facing a crisis of legitimacy. Ari Shavit says Israel's political realities have never been so ugly, but it's not too late to salvage them. Yossi Sarid says Israeli politicians who denounce settler violence are really responsible for it. Yakir Elkariv says extremist rabbis are most responsible. Hanoch Daum says violent religious extremists are an existential threat to Israel. Nahum Barnea says that in Washington, “Netanyahu” is the new “N-word.” Andrew Friedman says the Arab uprisings provide new opportunities for Israel to build stronger ties to Arab societies.Hussein Shobokshi says Gingrich “isn't fit to run a bath” let alone a state. James Lindsay says the discussion about Palestine at the last Republican debate was a sorry spectacle indeed. Hussein Ibish looks at the actual history of the formation of contemporary Israeli and Palestinian identities.

December 14th

NEWS: Israel's leadership is outraged by a settler attack on military bases.The second phase of the Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange is underway. A senior Hamas leader says he very much doubts elections can be held in May. Rights groups say Israel and settlers are destroying more Palestinian homes and wells than ever. Thousands in Gaza attend a Hamas anniversary rally. Israeli extremists clash with police after attacking a historically significant mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. DM Barak says Israeli extremists need to be treated like terrorist groups. Israeli rights groups say a record number of Palestinians have been displaced by home demolitions in the past year.Israeli and Palestinian officials meet to discuss water issues. PM Netanyahu is moving to consolidate his domestic power. COMMENTARY: Thomas Friedman says Newt Gingrich hit a new low in pandering to Israel by suggesting Palestinians are “an invented people.” Haaretz says that Israel must impose its law on settlers. Bradley Burston says Newt Gingrich needs to do a lot of homework. Carlo Strenger says the Middle East is ready to accept Israel if PM Netanyahu will let it. Donniel Hartman says Israel doesn't need would-be American “friends” denying Palestinian peoplehood. Danny Danon says Israel did not mean to offend Jewish Americans with ads warning against life in the United States, but Liora Halperin says it did. Aeyal Gross says it's easy to imagine how Israel would have reacted to rock throwing Palestinians as opposed to settlers. Yossi Alpher says the current peace process paradigm is dead and needs an alternative urgently, and Ghassan Khatib says Israeli extremism is the reason why.

December 13th

NEWS: Israel's plans to relocate Bedouins draws heavy criticism. Pres. Peres says he is "ashamed" of undemocratic legislation. Proposed Israeli legislation seeks to ban mosque loudspeakers. Settlers attack an Israeli military base in the occupied West Bank and sieze control of structures near the Jordan border, while blaming DM Barak for the incidents. Kadima leader Livni blames PM Netanyahu. Pres. Abbas will meet with EU FP Chief Ashton. Israeli officials are mum on Newt Gingrich's recent verbal attacks against Palestinians and Mitt Romney and many Jewish American leaders condemn them. COMMENTARY: Anshel Pfeffer says Israeli law is powerless against the settlers. Jonathan Pollak says Mustafa Tamimi died a heroic death, Jessica Montell says it was an avoidable tragedy and Karl Vick says it shows how not to deal with protesters. David Remnick says Pres. Obama is "salivating" at the idea of running against Gingrich after the latter's recent comments. Hassan Barari calls Gingrich's statements "a cheap stunt." Sallai Meridor says it's up to Netanyahu to stop the rise of extremist nationalism in Israel. Gershon Baskin says Netanyahu is not walking the walk, but at least is talking the talk on peace. The Jerusalem Post claims that, unlike almost all other nations, Israel was "not invented." Linda Heard says an Obama re-election is crucial for peace.

December 12th

NEWS: GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich claims Palestinians are “an invented people.” A Palestinian protester is killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, and an Israeli military spokesman appears to mock his death. A new Israeli ambassador is set to arrive in Egypt. Israel approves 40 new settlement housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. Some Israelis are not pleased about competition among Republican candidates to outbid each other on the issue. Settlers attack a village near Nablus. Hamas says it's moderating its social conservatism in response to the "Arab Spring." Deputy FM Ayalon launches a new YouTube video attacking Palestinian refugee rights. COMMENTARY: Sen. Carl Levin denounces Gingrich's anti-Palestinian comments. Michael Kinsley says the Palestinians' next "invention" will be their own state. David Remnick says Gingrich's comments are reminiscent of Joan Peters' notorious hoax “From Time Immemorial.” Ha'aretz says Israel holds Palestinian lives cheaply. Gideon Levy says the occupation inevitably leads to innocent deaths. Sami Michael says Israel is in danger of becoming an oppressive theocracy, and Eric Alterman agrees. Saeb Erekat says Israel is facing a moment of truth in negotiations. Daniel Goldhagen says emerging Arab democracies should take their cue from Israel, not Turkey. Afshin Molavi says Gingrich doesn't understand how history works.

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