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.

October 12th

NEWS: Israel and Hamas agreed to a prisoner swap. The CSM looks at the reasons for the deal. Analysts say Hamas will now claim “resistance” succeeds where negotiations fail. A senior Israeli commander says a cut off of aid to the Palestinians would be disastrous and that Jewish extremism is also a serious threat. Pres. Abbas has not won Colombian support for Palestinian UN membership. The Quartet calls for talks to resume on October 23. Israel formally apologizes to Egypt over the death of soldiers. Israeli occupation forces destroy a mosque in a Bedouin village for the 3rd time. UNRWA is trying to promote understanding between Lebanese citizens and Palestinian refugees. COMMENTARY: Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel say Hamas was forced to compromise on the prisoner swap. Yaakov Lappin says the agreement boosts Hamas at the expense of Fatah. Yaakov Katz says the "Arab Spring” played a role in Israel's calculations. Donald Macintyre says both Hamas and Israel's right-wing government are bolstered by the agreement. Tony Karon asks who gains and loses. Dan Ephron says it exposes Abbas' “weakness.” Robert Danin looks at the implications. Shlomo Avineri responds to Sari Nusseibeh.

October 11th

News: Pres. Abbas continues his tour of Latin America. A Palestinian official claims 9 countries are committed to vote in the Security Council for Palestinian UN membership. Occupation forces kill a Palestinian man near the Gaza border. PM Fayyad urges support for a Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike. PM Netanyahu says he's ready for new talks, and so does Abbas. Hamas says foreigners must now apply for visas to visit Gaza. The UN says Palestinians must be protected from settler attacks. The Israeli government is planning to recognize “unauthorized outpost” settlements built on private Palestinian land. DM Barak says violent settlers are “almost like terrorists.” Commentary: David Rosen and Edward Rettig say Israel faces a turning point with the latest mosque burning. David Newman agrees Israel must stamp out Jewish extremism. Gershon Baskin says he believes in peace, and this doesn't make him a “self-hating Jew.” David Miliband says that Gaza represents the total failure of politics. Jay Michaelson says there's nothing wrong with Jewish Americans taking sides in Israeli politics. Lawrence Davidson looks of the limitations on democracy for Israel's Palestinian citizens. Daniel Bethlehem says peace will require negotiations and dialogue. Wendy Pearlman says a new intifada is not imminent. Tony Karon says cutting aid to the PA might hurt Israel and the US more than the Palestinians. The JC interviews Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni. Ray Suarez says there are no simple solutions to Jerusalem.

October 10th

NEWS: PM Fayyad will address the October 19 ATFP Annual Gala. The Quartet says they'll ask Israelis and Palestinians to meet again soon to resume talks. The PA says the Quartet must act on provocative Israeli settlements. Pres. Abbas arrives in Colombia, a key UN Security Council state. There is a rise of Jewish extremist violence among Israelis. A Hamas leader says Palestinians should capture more Israeli soldiers to exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Palestinians plan to push for UNESCO's “world heritage status” for numerous sites. Gazans are infuriated by increasing Hamas taxes and fees. Senior Israeli defense officials visit Egypt to discuss security. Tunisia blocks Palestinians from an Arab bloggers conference. COMMENTARY: Roy Arad says in Jaffa, Jewish racism towards Arabs is commonplace. Carlo Strenger says Abbas should appeal directly to the Israeli public. Akiva Eldar says Israel doesn't really accept the Quartet statement, though it pretends to. Deputy FM Ayalon says Israel isn't isolated at all. Leonard Fein says Israel must fight against Jewish extremists. Ian Buruma looks at the adoption of Israeli maximalism as a cause for the Western far right. Daniel Levy says PM Netanyahu has never wanted peace and may have created a political structure in Israel that agrees. Ariel Sharon's son claims Israel is "under attack.” Salman Shaikh asks what to do now that the peace process appears to be “dead.” A.B. Yehoshua says a two-state solution based on dividing what Jews consider the “land of Israel” is a moral imperative.

October 7th

NEWS: Israeli Arab Bedouins are angered by the torching of a mosque. Pres. Abbas urges more European support for Palestine. Former Pres. Carter says Pres. Obama should earn his Nobel Peace Prize by crafting Israeli-Palestinian peace. There is more cooperation between Israel and Hamas than either admits. The PA accuses Israeli occupation forces of protecting violent settlers, and the Israeli NGO B'Tselem agrees. COMMENTARY: Yoel Marcus says it's only a matter of time before PM Netanyahu looses power. Nehemia Shtrasler says Hanan Porat was the architect of a settlement strategy designed to make it impossible for any Israeli government to withdraw from the occupied territories. Yishai Rosen-Zvi says the near-lynching of leftists in Israel is alarming. Uri Savir says peace is the only way to avoid disaster in a changing Middle East. Larry Derfner says Congress' threat to cut aid to the PA would only reduce US influence. Joseph Dana and Omar Rahman look at what comes next following the Palestinian UN statehood bid. Amir Taheri says Palestine must decide if it wants to be a cause or a state. Ronen Bergman recounts the founding of Israel and the role of the UN. Colum Lynch looks at Congressional threats to defund UNESCO and other UN agencies that upgrade the status of Palestine. Zvika Krieger says Israel does not want the US to defund UN agencies that work with the Palestinians. Israeli reservists are summoned for a surprise drill. Swedish academics call for a boycott of Israeli institutions due to the occupation. Palestinians are already feeling the effect of cuts in US aid.

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