September 16th

NEWS: The Council on Foreign Relations interviews ATFP President Dr. Ziad J. Asali on a potential Palestinian UN initiative. The Israeli government calls for more international aid to the PA and the Palestinians. Palestinians rebuff appeals to forgo any UN initiative, and a confrontation appears increasingly possible. European diplomats say they have made “meaningful progress” in negotiating compromise language. PM Netanyahu says Israel would agree to an upgrade in Palestinian status of the UN as long as it is not declared a “state.” Pres. Abbas meets with senior US officials, and is reportedly working on a compromise. Palestinian officials say Jews would be welcome in a Palestinian state. Jordanians hold a rally against Israeli policies, but it is sparsely attended. An Israeli soldier describes to the Independent how occupation forces suppress nonviolent Palestinian protests. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish and Yossi Klein Halevi answer reader questions in an online Q&A web chat hosted by the Guardian and the Forward. Shibley Telhami and Joshua Goldstein say Palestinian statehood should be decided at the UN. Matt Spetalnick says the Palestinian UN initiative has put Pres. Obama on the defensive. Aluf Benn says PM Netanyahu's strategy, at home and abroad, is digging in. Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel say Israel is facing unprecedented diplomatic challenges. Uri Savir says, in its own interests, Israel should vote yes on Palestinian statehood. So does Isaac Herzog. The Media Line interviews FM Al-Malki. Patrick Seale profiles Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Mousa, who is putting the issue of Palestine at the forefront of his campaign. Martti Ahtisaari and Javier Solana list 10 reasons why Europe should vote yes on Palestinian statehood at the UN. Robert Danin says any UN initiative is an unnecessary gamble for the Palestinians. Bloomberg says continued cooperation and aid to the Palestinians is the key to managing the fallout from a confrontation at the UN. Ian Bomberg says by working on day-to-day issues the parties can turn a confrontation into a win-win scenario.

September 14th

NEWS: Palestinian villagers say they are interested in the realities of life on the ground, not votes at the UN. The US is still scrambling to avert a showdown at the UN. Palestinians say they're being pressured by both Arab and European states to go to the UN General Assembly rather than the Security Council. Palestinians say it is the failure of 18 years of the Oslo process that is leading them to the UN. FM Lieberman again warns of “harsh consequences” from Israel. A senior PLO official questions the wisdom of a UN initiative.Some Jewish-American groups are supporting continued funding for the PA no matter what happens in September. Gazans express mixed feelings about the initiative. Palestinians are still asking the US for reasons not to go forward. A key member of Congress is trying to defund Palestinian and international institutions in the event of an initiative. Palestinians reiterate their conditions for resuming negotiations with Israel. Israeli authorities are worried about the rising Jewish extremism, particularly among settlers. COMMENTARY: David Ignatius says Israel will be more secure in a world of Arab democracies, but will have to make more compromises. Chuck Freilich says Egypt has an important role to play in shaping a compromise at the UN. Bradley Burston lists 10 reasons why Palestinians are right to approach the UN. Jonathan Freedland says both Britain and Israel should support Palestinian statehood. Tony Karon says the PA may lose control after a UN vote. Husam Itani says Israel is being influenced by the “Arab Spring” both internationally and at home. Jameel Theyab says he can understand why Hezbollah continues to support the Assad regime, but not Hamas' silence about its brutality. Mohammad Salah says that the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo was part of a generalized culture of vengeance Egypt must move beyond. Rebecca Vilkomerson says many US liberals are progressive on everything except Israel. Marwan Muasher answers questions about Middle East peace and the Palestinian UN initiative.

September 13th

NEWS: Israelis are feeling increasingly isolated and pressured, regionally and internationally. The Arab League pledges to push for a Palestinian UN initiative. There is disagreement over whether the initiative would be symbolic or meaningful. President Obama says it would be “a distraction.” Palestinian activists in the US are divided about the impact of the initiative. Hamas is refusing to take a clear position on the initiative. Hamas says it will keep its headquarters in Syria. Lack of international aid is imperiling the Palestinian institution-building program. ACP delivers $50,000 for a youth program in Palestine. COMMENTARY: The Washington Post says Israel is being used as a scapegoat by other Middle Eastern governments. Richard Cohen says Israel's peace treaty with Egypt is in danger. Amr el-Zant says Egyptians have never had an honest conversation about their relationship with Israel. Nehemia Shtrasler says that if Israeli leaders actually prefer conflict over peace, they should openly admit it. Gershon Baskin says that to reach out to the Arab world, Israel must make peace with the Palestinians. Rabbi Yosef Blau says what mainstream religious Zionist leaders are teaching their followers is leading to violence. Michael J. Weil says Israel should support Palestinian statehood at the UN. The National says protecting the Palestinian institution-building program must be the priority. Faisal Al Yafai says Israel's diplomatic woes are largely of its own making. Aaron David Miller says Palestinian divisions are crippling its diplomatic and national efforts.

September 12th

NEWS: Palestinian financial woes increase, threatening the institution-building program. US-Palestinian relations have deteriorated significantly. Concern about a Palestinian UN initiative is growing, Hamas has no clear position on it, and the EU remains divided. European diplomats say Palestinians have told them that they do not plan to approach the Security Council for full UN membership. Egypt tightens security after attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Israeli intelligence recommends an urgent return to peace talks with the Palestinians. COMMENTARY: The New York Times says the US and its allies must work quickly for a compromise at the UN and keep funding the PA. The Forward also says compromise is essential. Both Ha'aretz and the Jerusalem Post say Israel and Egypt must quickly repair their relationship. The National says attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Egypt show Israeli policies are stoking extremism. Joseph Dana thinks the Netanyahu government is about to collapse. Osama Al Sharif says Israel needs to adapt to new regional realities. Adel Safty thinks Palestinians are well positioned for success at the UN. The International Crisis Group issues a new report on Israel and Palestine. Prince Turki al-Faisal says US-Saudi relations would be badly damaged by US opposition to Palestinian statehood.

September 9th

NEWS: Pres. Abbas says the US is “too late” to stop a Palestinian UN initiative. The US announces it will veto a Palestinian application for full UN membership to the Security Council. Quartet envoy Blair says the UN initiative is “a cry of frustration.” UNSG Ban says a Palestinian state is “long overdue.” A Sacramento co-op debates whether or not to continue to stock Israeli items. Israeli settlers target a West Bank mosque in a “price tag” attack. Israel is deploying drones along the Egyptian border. Settlers complain they haven't received clear instructions on when they can use violence against Palestinian “rioters.” Ha'aretz describes how Israel is denying Palestinians the right to continue to live in Jerusalem. Hamas officials say they may relocate their headquarters to Cairo. At Brandeis ATFP Executive Director Ghaith Al-Omari debates WINEP's David Makovsky about the UN initiative. American Charities for Palestine delivers $50,000 to support West Bank organization Palestine Vision. COMMENTARY: ATFP President Ziad Asali says it's not too late to find a compromise that the UN and, whatever happens, funding for Palestinians must not be cut. Crispian Balmer says Israel is facing a myriad of problems due to regional transition in the Middle East. Yoel Marcus says PM Netanyahu must resign. Einat Barzilay says extremist settlers are out of control. The Jerusalem Post says a Palestinian state is in Israel's interests but can only be achieved through dialogue. Uri Savir says Israel needs to fix its relationship with the new Egypt. Husam Itani says the Palestinian uprising was a key victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Raghida Dergham says Palestinians can score a huge victory at the UN if they present language based on a long-term strategy for achieving independence. The Arab News says Palestinians must push forward with their UN initiative.

September 8th

NEWS: Pres. Obama's appointee to a top State Department job tells the Senate that the US will veto a Palestinian application to the Security Council for full UN membership.Palestinians may seek Vatican-like nonmember observer state status at the UN. Palestinians say major differences with the US on a UN initiative continue. The US and Israel intensify efforts to block an initiative. A former White House scientist pleads guilty in an espionage case connected with Israel. Israel faces growing international isolation due to Palestinian diplomatic efforts. Israeli cost-of-living protesters are not sure of their next step. An Islamic Jihad leader is killed in an Israeli attack on Gaza. Tensions are running high at a Palestinian refugee camp outside Jenin. COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz says PM Netanyahu is biting the US hand that feeds him. Gideon Levy says Israeli leaders are acting like pyromaniacs setting the region on fire. Gabriel Mitchell looks at tensions between Israel and Turkey. The Gulf News says Turkey has exposed Netanyahu's “false bravado.” George Hishmeh says the US should follow the Turkish lead in confronting Israel. Daoud Kuttab says the Palestinian leadership is standing up to US pressure. Donald McIntyre says the Palestinian leadership can't retreat from its UN initiative now. The Daily Star interviews Palestinian Social Affairs Minister Majeda al-Masri about the UN and Palestinian refugee rights. Peter Rodgers says Australia should vote yes on Palestinian statehood at the UN. Guy Goodwin-Gill reiterates his concerns about the UN initiative.

September 7th

NEWS: A new poll suggests that most Palestinians prefer continuing negotiations with Israel rather than a UN initiative. The “green line” between Israel and the occupied territories remains an opaque but important boundary. A Palestinian militant is killed by an Israeli helicopter attack in Gaza. US officials urge Palestinians to abandon a UN initiative. Peace Now says settlement activity has doubled since the end of the partial, temporary moratorium. Palestinians are quoting Pres. Obama in language for their draft UN declarations, and in radio advertisements. The PA again cuts wages in half for September. Settlers attack Israeli military vehicles in a “price tag” vigilante action. Jewish-American groups think a UN initiative is inevitable, but the language is not yet determined. COMMENTARY: Amira Hass says Hamas needs the blockade of Gaza to stay in power. Zvi Bar'el says the Gaza siege is choking Israel diplomatically. Galia Golan questions whether the Israeli government really wants peace with the Palestinians. Daniel Nisman says Egypt is trying to restore order in Sinai. Herb Keinon says former Defense Secretary Gates' negative comments about PM Netanyahu are only extraordinary in that they have been made public. Osama Al Sharif says Israel's international position is suffering because it will not adapt to changing circumstances. Issandr El Amrani says Egypt should be tough but fair in Sinai. The LA Times interviews Saeb Erekat about Palestinian plans at the UN. Der Spiegel interviews Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby about Syria and Palestine.

September 6th

NEWS: Leaks reveal US efforts to wiretap Israeli diplomats. Pres. Abbas says he prefers negotiations, and will continue them but is going to have a UN initiative in September. Israel says it will tolerate some Palestinian protests in September. Abbas reportedly met secretly with DM Barak. PLO officials say they're keeping their options at the UN open for now. Settlers attack a West Bank mosque in retaliation for Israeli military demolition of "unauthorized" buildings. PM Fayyad says Israel is fully responsible for the attack. Turkey is suspending military ties with Israel. Analysts ask whether new tensions between Israel and Turkey serve Palestinian interests. The governor of the Bank of Israel warns of the financial costs of deteriorating ties with Turkey. A Palestinian citizen of Israel family wins the right to reside in a “Jewish community.” COMMENTARY: Roger Cohen says Israel is isolating itself. Nidal Foqaha says the United States should vote yes on a UN Palestinian statehood initiative. Jeffrey Goldberg says former Sec. of Defense Robert Gates told him Israel is an “ungrateful ally.” Gershon Baskin says youth are crucial to peace. David Newman says freedom of expression is in danger in Israel. Guy Goodwin-Gill says Palestinian statehood must follow a democratic process. Linda Heard says Turkey should not let Israel off the hook. Sari Bashi looks at the future of the UN flotilla report. Yossi Alpher says Israel can use the UN to make progress and corner Hamas at the same time. Ghassan Khatib says Israel now has to deal with an empowered Egyptian public on Palestine. Itamar Rabinovich says Israel’s best option is to renew negotiations with the Palestinians.

September 2nd

NEWS: Turkey expels Israeli diplomats over a UN report into last year’s flotilla incident. The UN report finds the Israeli blockade of Gaza is legal, but that Israeli forces used excessive force against the flotilla. More anxious Israelis are seeking European passports. Israelis say a UN initiative could end all existing agreements. EU foreign ministers are meeting to discuss a Palestinian UN initiative. US evangelical Christians organize against it. Egypt's foreign minister says progress is being made at the UN. France says the initiative is “dangerous.” Palestinians continue to debate the legal implications of any initiative. COMMENTARY: Akram Atallah Alaysa says that apathy defines Palestinian public attitudes towards a UN initiative. Jon Haber says BDS is not as big a challenge as some Israelis think. Yoel Marcus says Israel may have missed its chance for peace. Hassan Jabareen explains why Palestinians can't recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” Uri Savir says the US needs to develop a new peace initiative immediately. Mehdi Hasan says a symbolic Palestinian victory at the UN would be meaningless. Larry Derfner explains why he wrote the column that got him fired from the Jerusalem Post. Brendan O'Neill says Israeli musicians should not be stigmatized for their nationality. Tom Segev recalls other momentous Septembers in Israeli-Palestinian history.

September 1st

NEWS: Israeli activists are hoping to revive their cost of living protests. Israel is bracing for a Palestinian UN initiative. The PLO says it will continue seeking diplomatic recognition even after September. Pres. Sarkozy is pushing for unified EU stance, but reports say it is badly split. Israel arrests a senior Hamas leader in the occupied West Bank. Pres. Abbas says the UN initiative is a result of Israeli refusal to comply with its international obligations. Israel threatens that any Palestinian UN initiative would put off further peace talks “for years.” COMMENTARY: Ma’an asks a number of experts whether a UN initiative would threaten refugee rights. Ha'aretz says Pres. Peres cannot save PM Netanyahu at the UN. Carlo Strenger says Israel could still deal with a Palestinian UN initiative. Douglas Bloomfield says Pres. Ahmadinejad's rhetoric makes him the best spokesman for the Israeli right. Ben White says all Palestinian leaders lack legitimacy. Leonard Fein profiles two Israelis with contrasting visions of the future. Bilal Hassen says the Israel-Egypt peace treaty has already been de facto revised. Karl Vick says Palestinians are torn between full UN membership and observer status. The Economist says the threat to cut off US funding to Palestinians is a mistake for everybody.

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