August 16th

NEWS: Activists say thousands of people, including Palestinian refugees, have been herded into a stadium in Latakia by the Syrian government. More than 80 members of Congress are visiting Israel during the current recess, funded by a group affiliated with AIPAC. Israeli cost-of-living protests ignore the question of the occupation. A Palestinian man is killed and seven injured in Israeli air strikes on Gaza. Palestinians are outraged by attacks by Syrian government forces on Syrian and Palestinian civilians. The PLO accuses Syria of crimes against humanity. Pres. Abbas appeals for more Arab financial and diplomatic support. Abbas appoints the chairman for a new constitutional committee. Sen. Leahy says the US should cut funding for Israeli military units guilty of abuses in the occupied territories. Critics say a proposed new Israeli law threatens democracy and Arab rights. The American Jewish Committee is divided over the distinction between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israeli policies. Egypt says Hamas is refusing to hand over suspects in attacks on the Sinai gas pipeline. COMMENTARY: Amir Oren says Pres. Obama will not save PM Netanyahu. Gershon Baskin says Israel's social justice movement must include Palestinian concerns. Eran Shayshon says in order to support Israel, Jews must have an "open tent.” Yossi Alpher says settler violence is an inevitable byproduct of occupation. Ghassan Khatib says Israel must be held accountable for settlement expansions. Matthew Bell looks at the US stance towards Palestinian UN initiatives. Carlo Strenger says FM Lieberman does not understand the Middle East. Mel Frykberg says Hamas executions reveal divisions in Palestinian society. Hussein Ibish says all national narratives, including Israeli and Palestinian ones, must be respected but should not be confused with historical truth.

August 15th

NEWS: UNRWA says Palestinian refugees are among those being attacked by Syrian forces in Latakia, with at least two killed. Palestinians in Ramallah rally for the downfall of Pres. Assad. Rep. Hoyer says Pres. Abbas and PM Fayyad delivered mixed messages on potential Palestinian UN initiatives. FM Al-Maliki says Palestinians will apply for full UN membership. Palestinians say they are determined to win more bilateral and multilateral recognition. Abbas reportedly held for "secret meetings" with Pres. Peres. Hamas objects to PA plans for municipal elections in October. A dispute between Fatah and ousted former official Dahlan is bolstering Hamas. The Palestinian Economy Minister is referred to the Attorney General for potential prosecution. Israel announces more settlement activity. Controversy continues to haunt the Freedom Theater in Jenin. COMMENTARY: Gideon Levy says Israel's closest neighbor is its own military. Harold Zwier and Larry Stillman say Australia should support Palestinian statehood. Tariq Al Maeena says years of negotiating have not yielded anything for the Palestinians. A new book looks at nonviolent resistance to Israel's occupation. Joel Brinkley critiques the ideology of extremist settlers. Akiva Eldar says Israel may take military actions in response to a Palestinian UN initiative. Yaakov Katz says the Israeli military is prepared for whatever might happen in September.

August 12th

NEWS: Pres. Abbas and PM Fayyad send mixed messages on UN bid. The US threatens to halt aid to Gaza. Pres. Abbas says NATO may have a future role in a Palestinian state. The PA is formulating policies to offset future financial crises. Israel prepares for possible Palestinian statehood rallies in September. Israel may freeze defense spending because of cost of living protests. The US urges Israel not to proceed with planed settlement expansions in occupied East Jerusalem. The EU says the plan threatens a two-state solution. PM Fayyad says the move shows “total disregard for Palestinian rights.” Abbas stresses there can be no settlements in a Palestinian state. Israel is accused of systematically denying education to Palestinian prisoners. COMMENTARY: Amos Oz says Israel's middle-class protest movement shows the spirit of the country. Ha'aretz says Israeli leaders are becoming hysterical about September. Israeli Amb. Michael Oren says Israel will not agree to international peacekeepers in a Palestinian state. Joseph Dana says Israeli “social justice” protests are ignoring the occupation. JJ Goldberg looks at the lawsuit on the status of Jerusalem in US passports. The Arab News says the time has come for Palestinians to go to the UN and demand independence. David Newman says the West Bank separation barrier is actually a de facto border between Israel and Palestine. Sharif Omar says the wall has not changed the strategic equation between Israel and the Palestinians. Hussein Ibish looks at the Palestinian financial crisis and its political implications.

August 11th

NEWS: A Palestinian TV satire program rankles its targets. The Israeli government is set to approve thousands of new settler homes around occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian officials say the US response is “insufficient.” Lebanon and Qatar may be key support at the UN for the Palestinians. Some settler leaders try to join the Israeli social justice protests. DM Barak warns that Israeli sanctions could lead to the collapse of the PA. PM Netanyahu reportedly rules out any apology to Turkey. The Israeli military is also preparing for tensions with Syria. Palestinian officials make detailed plans to prevent violent confrontations during possible mass rallies in September. COMMENTARY: Gideon Levy says Netanyahu understands nothing about public relations. Farid Abdel-Nour says a Palestinian statehood initiative can breathe new life into the two-state solution. Sima Kadmon says the Israeli government privileges settlers, even in "unauthorized" outposts. Dov Weisglass says the idea of abrogating the Oslo agreements is foolish. George Hishmeh asks when Pres. Obama will stand up to Netanyahu. The Daily Star says Palestinians need to overcome both internal and external obstacles to statehood. Daoud Kuttab looks at options for the future of Jerusalem. Kieron Monks says Palestinian youth are frustrated and volatile. The Jordan Times says Netanyahu is resorting to weak excuses. Dov Waxman says Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel can use the cost of living protests to forge a better future together.

August 10th

NEWS: Some find new hope for the Palestinian cause in the Arab uprisings. Israel and the Arab states may meet to discuss a nuclear-free Middle East. Marwan Barghouti again talks about mass demonstrations following a UN vote. The Chinese military chief will visit Israel. Western diplomats warn about the consequences of Palestinian UN plans. Pres. Peres says Israeli-Palestinian peace is still possible. The US says it's “deeply concerned” about Israel's new settlement plans in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli businesses are criticized for "Jews-only" hiring policies. Palestinian police are angered by a satirical TV program. Palestinian prisoners languish for years in Israeli administrative detention. COMMENTARY: Shai Feldman examines the background and implications of a potential Palestinian UN initiative. Ibrahim Sharqieh says the US must support a Palestinian statehood bid. Nehemia Shtrasler says the Netanyahu government fits very well in the Middle East. Gershon Baskin proposes a draft UN Security Council resolution affirming two states for two peoples. Kenneth Bandler says Jewish Americans need to take more interest in Palestinian citizens of Israel. Jessica Steinberg says by accepting the 1967 lines in theory, PM Netanyahu is strategically maneuvering. The Jordan Times says Jordan strongly supports the Palestinian cause. Henry Siegman says there are no real arguments against Palestinian statehood. Hussein Ibish analyzes the political implications of a new book tracing the history of traditional Palestinian costume.

August 9th

NEWS: Palestinians are still studying their options for a UN initiative. Lebanon and Qatar may play a crucial role. PM Netanyahu lobbies international diplomats against Palestinian statehood. Hamas is late in paying its employees wages. Israel arrests 11 Palestinians in the West Bank. Projectiles fired from Gaza land in Israel without causing injuries. Gazans defy handicaps to lead full lives. A Palestinian textile factory is booming online. Israel arrests another actor from the Jenin freedom theater. COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz says Netanyahu must distance himself from inflammatory comments by FM Lieberman. Gabriel Bacalor says Palestinians are ready for peace but Israeli policies are not. Yossi Alpher says Israel's West Bank separation barrier was justified despite many mistakes, but Ghassan Khatib says it was illegal, unjustified and ultimately destructive. Alon Ben-Meir says Israeli-Palestinian coexistence is inevitable and they must determine its form. Hussein Ibish says the latest Israeli settlement announcement shows how desperate the situation is for Palestinians.

August 8th

NEWS: Hamas and Fatah agree to release political prisoners. Fatah figures accuse ousted official Muhammad Dahlan of being involved in the "poisoning" of the late Pres. Arafat. FM Lieberman says Israel should cut all ties to the PA. A five-star hotel opens in Gaza. EU diplomats criticize Israel's “arrogant” stance. Israel may hold early elections due to ongoing protests. Israeli textbooks are criticized for bias against Palestinians. Israel pressures human rights organizations. Palestinian women are entering the banking sector. Lebanon says it will recognize the Palestinian state. COMMENTARY: The New York Times says a confrontation at the UN would be harmful to all parties and the US should work towards a compromise. Former UN ambassador Gabriela Shalev says Israel's international standing is collapsing. Oudeh Basharat says Palestinian citizens should get involved in Israel's cost of living protests. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews FM Al-Maliki. Xinhua says empty promises from Israel won't stop a Palestinian UN initiative. Sister Paulette Schroeder says living with Palestinians in Hebron taught her lessons about being a Christian. Mira Sucharov asks where Palestinians fit into Israeli cries for "social justice." As'ad Abdul Rahman says Palestinians need a peaceful uprising against occupation. Steve White says maintaining US funding for Palestinian security forces is imperative.

August 5th

NEWS: Israel announces new settlement plans that could cut occupied East Jerusalem off from the rest of the West Bank. A raft of new right-wing legislation shows the rise of the Israeli far-right. Israeli air strikes injure five in Gaza city. Israel is angered by Honduras' support for Palestinian statehood. Palestinians say they are determined to press forward with a UN initiative. The PA orders its forces to prepare to prevent violence in September. An American photojournalist says Israeli troops deliberately fired at him. Palestinians remain frustrated at the lack of national unity. Egyptian officials accuse Palestinian extremists of involvement in attacks in Sinai. Palestinian leaders have been invited to Washington for urgent consultations. Jeffery Goldberg interview Tzipi Livni. COMMENTARY: Sari Nusseibeh reviews a new book by Jeremy Ben-Ami. Tom Parry analyzes Palestinian options at the UN. Akiva Eldar says new US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro's main role is healing rifts between Pres. Obama and the Jewish-American community, not PM Netanyahu. David Hearst says Israel has no answer to Palestinian determination to remain on their land. The National says there is no contradiction between UN recognition of Palestine and negotiations with Israel. Sam Bahour says Palestinians may be giving up on a two-state solution. Justyna Pawlak says the EU is struggling to make its voice heard in the Middle East. Cole Stangler says Israel's new anti-boycott law may backfire. Roberto Quesada says Honduras has nothing to apologize to Israel for by supporting Palestinian statehood. The Forward hosts a forum on a Palestinian UN initiative with Hussein Ibish, Alan Elsner, Danny Ayalon, Shlomo Gazit, David Harris, Gabriela Shalev, Lara Friedman and Maen Rashid Areikat.

August 4th

NEWS: A pending Knesset bill would drop the word “democratic” from Israel self-definition and eliminate Arabic as an official language. A gruesome “honor killing” shocks Palestinians and prompts harsher penalties. New US ambassador Dan Shapiro says Pres. Obama hopes to visit Israel soon. Analysts say new settlement construction would do nothing to offset Israel's cost-of-living crisis. An Israeli parliamentary report says Palestinian violence in September is “unlikely,” but its security forces are preparing for many contingencies. The Arab League says it's finalizing plans for a UN statehood initiative, and Palestinians say their "train is headed towards New York." Gazans show no sympathy for ex-president Mubarak, now on trial in Egypt. COMMENTARY: Nicholas Kristof says the US needs a more balanced policy towards Israel and the Palestinians. Dimi Reider and Aziz Abu Sarah say the cost of living crisis in Israel is strongly linked to the occupation. Michael Jansen says Israel's economic crisis is a classic guns versus butter dilemma. Ian Bremmer says Palestinian statehood is coming and Israel and the United States will find themselves isolated. Americans for Peace Now issues “principles” for Palestinian international recognition and the UN.

August 3rd

NEWS: Municipal elections are planned in the West Bank for October 22. The UN says there is a clear link between Palestinian displacement and settlement expansion. A Palestinian man is convicted of murdering a settler family. The US and Israel are working on a formula to avoid a Palestinian statehood initiative at the UN in September. Analysts doubt PM Netanyahu's latest proposals will produce any results. 42 MKs say the answer to Israel's cost-of-living crisis is more settlement activity. A new poll shows overwhelming Jewish and Muslim American support for a two-state solution. A Knesset committee says Palestinian efforts at the UN will harm Israel diplomatically. Israel's public security minister claims “a large-scale military operation is needed in Gaza.” COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz says Israeli courts must end discrimination against Palestinians. Gilad Stern, Einav Yogev and Yoram Schweitzer say the border region between Israel, Egypt and Gaza remains very volatile. The Arab News says only Palestinians should decide what to do at the UN. Osama Al Sharif says Israeli and American opposition to Palestinian statehood initiatives is incomprehensible to the rest of the world. Yossi Alpher says a deal on Jerusalem has to be part of a broader agreement. Ghassan Khatib says the international community must do more on Jerusalem. David Myers says hope for peace can still be found in the actions of ordinary people. Marwan Muasher says Pres. Obama must act now to avoid an Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

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