NEWS: Palestine joins UNESCO as full member. After a deadly exchange of rocket fire, there are efforts to restore the cease-fire between Israel and militant groups in Gaza, but tensions continue to run high. The death toll in Gaza reaches 12. Both sides are using new technology. The attacks suggest Islamic Jihad may becoming a threat to Hamas. Pres. Abbas says the Arab rejection of the UN partition plan in 1947 was “a mistake.” The Arab League says it will look into alternatives to the bid for full UN membership for Palestine. A former Israeli soldier is jailed for leaking secret documents to Ha'aretz. UN officials say Israel should take the idea Palestinians might dismantle the PA seriously, as outlined in Asharq Al-Awsat. Palestinians say they will ask for full UNESCO membership in a vote later today, despite US threats to cut off funding to the agency. COMMENTARY: Robert Blackwill and Walter Slocombe say Israel is a true ally to the United States. Ha'aretz says Israel must end the Gaza blockade. Sefi Rachlevsky warns Israel's “radical leadership” might drag the country into war with Iran. Daniel Friedmann says a decision to strike Iran should be by the West, not Israel. JJ Goldberg notes that prominent Israeli columnist Nahum Barnea has suggested that PM Netanyahu and PM Barak are pushing for an attack on Iran. The Jordan Times says the US is blackmailing the UN over Palestine's UNESCO membership. Newsweek interviews Moshe Dayan's widow, who says the current government cannot think in terms of peace. ATFP releases a full transcript of PM Fayyad's address to its Sixth Annual Gala.

October 28th

NEWS: An American-Israeli is released by Egypt, but the agreement shows brittle ties between the countries. Bosnia says it cannot come to a consensus on Palestine's UN membership application. The Palestinian envoy to the UN files an official complaint against FM Lieberman's comments about Pres. Abbas. Abbas may discuss the future of the PA with Hamas. AP looks at the changing face of Christianity in the “holy land." Fatah has officially fired Mohammed Dahlan from his final remaining party post. Ha'aretz reports that Kadima leader Livni may have undermined negotiations under PM Olmert. Two recently released Palestinian prisoners get married. A company has lost a major contract in Saudi Arabia because of its involvement in Israel's light rail project in occupied East Jerusalem. COMMENTARY: Yoel Marcus says Abbas must choose to pursue peace with Israel. Don Futterman says Israel's abuse of Bedouins shows it still cannot treat its citizens equally. Uri Savir says peace is the only way to avoid more prisoner swaps. Hirsh Goodman says Israel would be wise to avoid being an issue in the US presidential campaign. Dawoud Abu Lebdeh says the international community must support those who believe in negotiations and nonviolence as a path to peace. Zvika Krieger asks what former Sec. Rice gets right and wrong in her account of the 2007 negotiations. Alan Elsner says Palestinians will be responsible if the US withdraws from UNESCO. May Marei outlines the challenges facing Palestinian travelers. Ron Kampeas says that in spite of media reports, he can find no evidence the United States asked Israel for another settlement freeze. Tom Perry says the Quartet finds itself hopelessly deadlocked.

October 26th

NEWS: In her new memoir, former Sec. Rice says peace was very close in 2007. Pres. Peres and EU foreign policy chief Ashton defend Pres. Abbas against criticisms by FM Lieberman. A World Bank agency is going to insure some Palestinian investments. Occupation forces close two offices in occupied East Jerusalem they claim were being used by Hamas. Palestinian officials say they're unaware of any new US proposal to restart negotiations. Former US peace envoy Mitchell says deadlocked negotiations could lead to violence. The ADL and AJC press Republicans not to attack Pres. Obama over Israel. Quartet officials say they're making another push to restart talks. The Palestinian stock exchange is performing much better than its peers under uncertain conditions. COMMENTARY: The LA Times says both the California and Israeli-Palestinian experiences show that textbook issues should be debated between scholars and not politicians. Lally Weymouth interviews Jordan's King Abdullah. Ha'aretz says PM Netanyahu must treat Abbas as a genuine partner. Jonathan Freedland says Netanyahu has no vision for peace. Kapil Komireddi says Indian-Israeli friendship should not be marred by anti-Muslim sentiments. Salman Shaikh says Hamas needs to find friends outside Damascus. Dan Rothem looks at the difficulty of drawing an Israeli-Palestinian border. Shlomo Brom says the Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange will have limited ramifications.

October 25th

NEWS: The controversy continues over Palestinian textbooks in occupied East Jerusalem. A planned “Museum of Tolerance” in occupied East Jerusalem is criticized by international archaeologists. Palestinian officials say the Quartet should judge which side is undermining peace. The PA says the Israeli government is not cracking down on settler violence. Egypt and Israel agree to a prisoner swap. The PA says Israel should release Marwan Barghouti. Jordan's King expresses doubt that Israel is really interested in a two-state solution. Israel mildly disciplines an occupation forces officer who killed a Palestinian. COMMENTARY: Timothy Wirth says if Palestine is accepted as a member, the US will have to resign from UNESCO. Ha'aretz says PM Netanyahu should listen to his own military experts. Anshel Pfeffer says the Israeli army is becoming dominated by religious fanatics. Sari Bashi says it's time to lift the siege of Gaza. Gershon Baskin says Israel should talk to Hamas. Robi Dameli says former Palestinian prisoners could turn into future peacemakers. Sarah Kreimer says settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem is destroying the two-state solution. Yossi Alpher says the Israel-Hamas prisoner swap is not relevant to the real issues and Ghassan Khatib says it will have no impact on the moribund peace process. Barbara Slavin says the Obama administration is likely to maintain a cautious foreign policy until the next election.

October 24th

NEWS: The Palestinian bid for membership in UNESCO threatens US funding. The mayor of New York visits Israel. After the Israel-Hamas prisoner swap, attention refocuses on security. Hamas says neither senior figures nor common criminals will be in the next group of prisoners released. Egypt says it considers Palestinian reconciliation a top priority. Quartet Envoy Blair tells Reuters the “Arab Spring” could complicate Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. Freed Palestinian prisoners are rebuilding their lives. The Israeli military recommends freeing Fatah prisoners in order to bolster Pres. Abbas. Israeli opposition leader Livni strongly condemns the prisoner swap. Israeli occupation authorities are taking more control over Palestinian textbooks in occupied East Jerusalem. COMMENTARY: Walter Pincus says the US needs to reevaluate its aid to Israel. Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu is holding all of Israel hostage to the occupation. Shlomo Avineri says antidemocratic legislation is the real threat to Israel's “Jewish character.” Bradley Burston says Israel-bashing is now acceptable in the United States if it is done from the extreme right. An Israeli diplomat to the United States explains why he gave up his American citizenship. Uri Avnery says the prisoner swap is a huge blow to Abbas. Haggai Matar says many Israelis refuse to accept the legitimacy of the occupation. Rami Khouri says the prisoner swap opens new prospects for negotiations. Jonathan Guyer says the US looks increasingly irrelevant as a Middle East peace broker.

October 21st

NEWS: There is extensive coverage of the ATFP Sixth Annual Gala. Hard feelings persist after the Israel-Hamas prisoner swap. Many Palestinian prisoners are released but are not free. Pres. Abbas will visit Egypt. Abbas is interviewed by Ma'an TV. Palestinians are considering "other options" if their UN bid fails. Israel may be considering a partial settlement freeze to restart talks. Hamas gains from the prisoner swap are likely to fade. Changes in Security Council membership are unlikely to bolster Palestinian options. COMMENTARY: Avi Issacharoff says the prisoner swap throws Hamas a political lifeline. Ray Hanania says it makes no sense to get mad at the wrong people. Deborah Orr asks why Israeli lives are valued more than Palestinian ones. Nathan Guttman looks at pro-Israel outreach to African-Americans. JJ Goldberg says the prisoner swap deal was wise. Tariq Alhomayed says there is a stench of hypocrisy about Hamas' stance on the prisoner swap. Bilal Hassan says the Palestinians need to coordinate more with Arab leaders. Ahmed Othman asks if Abbas is planning to return to negotiations. George Hishmeh says US military aid to Israel may be impeding the peace process. The Daily Star says the Quartet must make Israel comply with international law.

October 18th

NEWS: The Hamas-Israel prisoner swap begins. The deal shows Hamas under heavy pressure to seek political gains. Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails end a hunger strike. Quartet envoys will meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian officials. The Israeli military tells its soldiers to prevent capture at all costs. Mossad is now a part of an unfolding British political scandal. The first deadline for resumed talks has already passed. The Palestinian envoy in Ottawa is embroiled in a controversy over a Twitter message. APN interviews Yossi Alpher on the prisoner swap. COMMENTARY: Tom Perry says the prisoner exchange may press Pres. Abbas to go further with UN efforts. Ha'aretz says the swap bolsters Hamas at Fatah's expense. Akiva Eldar says Hamas has shown it knows what makes Israel tick. Bassam Nasser says more than a prisoner exchange, Palestinians need an end to the blockade of Gaza. David Newman says the swap shows informal talks work well. Ian Black says it shows Egypt's central role in Mideast affairs. Linda Heard says it's a win-win for Israel and Hamas. Uri Avnery says Israelis need to be shocked, either positively or negatively, out of their national complacency.

October 17th

NEWS: Israel releases the names of Palestinian prisoners to be released this week. The prisoner swap is extremely popular in Israel. Deported prisoners will go to Qatar, Turkey and other countries. Marwan Barghouti says he was not consulted about the deal. Israel and Hamas seem to be increasingly cooperating, and both leaderships gained from the deal. Turkey's role was quiet but crucial. Israel continues to expand settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem. The UN calls the plans “unacceptable.” Asharq Al-Awsat looks at the background to Pres. Abbas' historic UN speech. COMMENTARY: Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel say the real security implications of the swap will only become clear in time. Sefi Rachlevsky says PM Netanyahu is trying to appear as a “wise and fatherly” leader. Omar Shabaik says he and the other “Irvine 11” were treated unfairly. Faisal Al Qasim says it's humiliating to exchange so many Palestinians for one lone Israeli soldier. David Pollak says both Arabs and Israelis want peace, but the problem is with their political leaderships. David Makovsky looks at the costs of the prisoner exchange for Israel. Daniel Levy and David Makovsky debate the merits of relying on bilateral negotiations to achieve Middle East peace.

October 14th

NEWS: The prisoner swap with Israel boosts Hamas' popularity but also reveals weaknesses. Analysts say it does benefit the group. The Jerusalem Post outlines how the deal was made. The transfer of prisoners will begin on Tuesday. The Red Cross has offered to play a role in the exchange. PM Fayyad says the PA will not collapse without foreign aid. Hamas sentences three Palestinians to death. Another senior Israeli commander warns against cutting funds to the PA. Pres. Abbas will meet with French Pres. Sarkozy in Paris. Israel is planning more settlement homes in occupied East Jerusalem. COMMENTARY: Israeli Amb. Michael Oren says Israel is not isolated. Akiva Eldar says Hamas did not win a victory but Fatah did suffer a defeat in the prisoner exchange. Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say Israel crossed some of its red lines in the agreement. Zeev Sternhell says settlers are taking control of Israeli politics. Herb Keinon says Hamas desperately needed a victory. The National says nonviolence is the Palestinians' strongest weapon. Patrick Seale asks if Israel might attack Iran without notifying the US. The Jordan Times says Israel's legal claims against Palestinian statehood are spurious. Aaron David Miller says the prisoner swap was just that, and has no broader significance. Alon Ben-Meir and Amr Yossef say Israel and Egypt can and should improve their relations.

October 13th

News: The Israel-Hamas prisoner swap may have profound regional implications. Jubilation over the agreement dampens. Hamas' military wing threatens to capture more Israeli soldiers for additional prisoner exchange. Hezbollah says the deal is proof that “resistance” is effective. Fatah officials say meetings with Hamas leaders were “positive.” Tensions continue to grow between Israeli authorities and Bedouin citizens. Israeli settlers attack a Palestinian school. The US calls Israel's move to recognize “unauthorized outpost” settlements “unhelpful to peace efforts.” Palestinians say they're going to try to join as many UN and international agencies as possible. Commentary: Tom Perry says neither Israel nor Fatah would give Hamas credit for the release of Marwan Barghouti. John Quigley and Gabi Fahel say Abbas was right to go to the UN and try to internationalize the peace process. Avraham Burg says the PA should organize Palestinians to vote en masse in Jerusalem elections as a pilot program in democratizing the entire area. The Guardian says the prisoner swap was a “rare outbreak of common sense.” Taufiq Rahim says the agreement gives Hamas a new lease on political life. The National says Hamas should build on this momentum by forging a reasonable unity deal with the PA. The Arab News says the world must not forget Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Ilan Baruch says Palestinian success at the UN also serves US and Israeli interests.

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