September 22nd

NEWS: Palestinians say they intend to continue to pursue full UN membership in spite of Pres. Obama's admonitions. Pres. Abbas is now the center of global attention. Palestinian leaders say they will give the Security Council “some time” to consider their application before asking them to act, and are studying a fresh proposal for a UNGA resolution and renewed negotiations with Israel. Abbas' defiance seems to have intensified. Jewish-American groups are split on Obama's UN speech. The EU is still divided on the issue of Palestine at the UN. Israeli leaders welcome Obama's speech, but Palestinian leaders criticize it. COMMENTARY: Norwegian FM and chairman of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for assistance to the Palestinian Authority Jonas Gahr Store says Palestine is ready for statehood.Hussein Ibish says Obama's speech was good politics but did not serve US policy goals. Former Israeli PM Olmert says this is the last chance for a two-state solution. Saree Makdisi says the UN bid could backfire. Gideon Levy says Palestinians are "the new Jews" and their leaders are remarkably like old-time Zionists. Frances Raday says a Palestinian state is in Israel's interests.Robert Wexler says Obama is indeed pro-Israel. Douglas Bloomfield says US Republicans are trying to turn Israel into a wedge issue. Taufiq Rahim says time is running out to salvage a two-state solution. Randa Takieddine says Abbas is taking the Arab spring to New York. The Daily Star says Obama is right negotiations are the only solution, but he must practice what he preaches. John Whitbeck says Palestinians can make use of divisions within the EU. House Majority Leader Cantor and Minority Whip Hoyer say the US must oppose the Palestinian UN initiative.

September 21st

NEWS: House Republicans are developing a growing bond with PM Netanyahu. A compromise may be brewing in the UN whereby Palestinians apply for full membership but do not press for a vote. Sources say it is all an effort to “buy time.” Hamas is staying on the sidelines of the issue. Thousands of Palestinians rally in support. Pres. Abbas will meet with Pres. Obama in New York. Israel's finance minister Steinitz again threatens to withhold Palestinian tax revenues. A new poll suggests 70% of Israelis say they should accept whatever the UN decides. Abbas rejects allegations of corruption. A former aide to the late Pres. Arafat says Abbas is making a big mistake. COMMENTARY: Michael Weiss says the Palestinian UN gambit is misguided, but no one should cut off funds to the PA.Zvi Bar'el says the US should recognize Palestine. Issacharoff and Harel say both parties hope to keep the confrontation in New York, and not on the ground. Daniel Levy says “leading from behind” won't work for the US in this case. Gareth Evans says the US and Israel are on the wrong side of history.Claude Salhani says the Palestinians cannot afford to lose the fight at the Security Council. Tony Karon says the Palestinians are looking for a way out. Rami Khouri says this week, the Israeli and American stranglehold on the process may finally end. David Rothkopf says Israel and the Palestinians really need changes of leadership. Hussein Ibish contrasts the virtual "state" Palestinians are trying to achieve at the UN with the really existing but largely unrecognized Kosovar state, and says a compromise at the UN must be found.

September 20th

NEWS: Palestinian officials indicate they are still open to a compromise at the UN, saying "We don’t need a vote right away. We see this as the beginning of a process.” Diplomats continue to search for a compromise at the UN, as Pres.Abbas insists he will apply for full membership on Friday. Ha'aretz reports an “Israeli source” says the US asked Abbas to go to the Security Council in order to buy more time for compromise. Palestinian Monetary Authority Governor Jihad al-Wazir says the PA could collapse if the US withdraws aid. Saudi Arabia promises to give the PA $200 million. Rep. Joe Walsh introduces a bill to the House saying if Palestinians go forward with a statehood bid, Israel should annex the occupied territories. Abbas says he's willing to meet with PM Netanyahu in New York. FM al-Malki says negotiations can resume only with clear terms of reference. Palestinians seek to reconcile institution-building with the UN initiative. The UK says it faces a “difficult judgment” at the UN. COMMENTARY: The LA Times says a vote at the UN won't change anything and the parties must return to negotiations. Justin Martin says criticism of Israel on American campuses should be protected, not banned. Walid Awad says if Abbas presses the Security Council, the PA will likely collapse and the PLO reemerge in a different form. The Wall Street Journal says the US should respond to the Palestinian UN initiative by cutting funds to the UN. Natasha Mozgovaya says Pres. Obama is going to pay a heavy price no matter what decision he makes at the UN. John Heilemann says Obama is the best thing Israel has going for it, though many people don't understand that. Gershon Baskin says almost the whole world accepts Israel's right to exist. Robert Fisk says Palestinians can't achieve statehood this week at the UN, but the peace process could be killed. George Semaan says Palestinians have no choice but to turn to the UN. Ghassan Khatib says Palestinians are trying to introduce a new paradigm by “internationalizing” the peace process. Hussein Ibish says a last-minute compromise is still possible and is in all parties' interests.

September 19th

NEWS: Donor states reaffirm the Palestinians are ready for independence.In bringing the resolution of the conflict back to the UN, Palestinians are returning it to its roots. Palestinian officials say a US government document presented last week persuaded them they had no other option. Intensive diplomacy to avoid a confrontation continues. A new poll suggests most Palestinians support the UN gambit but fear its consequences. AP notes that Palestinians have done much to create the infrastructure of their state in spite of the occupation. The US and European states are reportedly urging Israel not to take any drastic measures in response. Israel's UN ambassador says it's unclear there's a majority in the Security Council requiring a US veto, and Portugal remains undecided. Israel fears even a nonmember UN observer Palestinian state could use international legal enforcement mechanisms against it. Settlement expansions anger Palestinians, but are not enough for settlers. COMMENTARY: Tom Friedman says Israel is become totally isolated and gives its friends no means to defend it. Aaron David Miller says the UN controversy is a distraction from the real problem, which is the inability to reach a peace agreement. Israel's UN ambassador says Palestinians should return to negotiations with Israel. John Hughes says Israel needs a peace deal more than ever. Yossi Sarid says Jewish Americans shouldn't be more “patriotic” than Israelis. Jeff Barak says PM Netanyahu is gambling with his country's future. Afshin Molavi says the UN gambit will bring the Palestinians no closer to independence. Raghida Dergham says Palestinians would be wise to avoid the Security Council and instead seek support in the General Assembly. The Daily Star says anyone who claims to support peace but opposes Palestinian statehood at the UN is "either a coward or a liar." Wendy Chamberlain says the US should understand the real threat of a Security Council vote is not to Israel but to its own standing and interests in the broader Middle East.

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.

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