October 17th

NEWS: Israeli officials say an antiaircraft missile was fired at an Israeli warplane from Gaza. Israeli officials insist they estimated food needs in Gaza when designing the blockade. Prosecutors say they will appeal the acquittal verdicts for former PM Olmert. DM Barak denies he met with Pres. Abbas last week. Palestinian protesters block a highway in the occupied West Bank, as settlers continue to destroy olive trees and groves. PM Netanyahu is going into Israel's campaign season foregrounding his “tough guy” image. Abbas sends a letter to Pres. Obama explaining the renewed UN bid and reiterating support for two states. Palestinian public sector employees say they're going to strike over unpaid salaries. The Israeli government says it will accept some “practical recommendations” regarding settlement construction of the Levy Report, but bypass its legal findings. New study suggests only 5.5% of municipal properties in Jerusalem are serving its Arab residents. Hamas leader in Gaza Haniyyeh has reportedly transferred operational authority to his deputy to concentrate on the Politburo leadership contest. Palestinians are preparing to vote in West Bank municipal elections. Palestinian sources say a French team investigating the death of the late Pres. Arafat will arrive in Ramallah on November 26, and have reportedly interrogated his widow. COMMENTARY: Bradley Burston says only Netanyahu can defeat himself in the upcoming Israeli election. Ha'aretz says, in spite of Israeli government rhetoric, a binational reality has already emerged in the areas under Israeli control. Dalia Hatuqa looks at the ways Hamas is redefining itself after breaking with the Syrian regime. The Daily Star says Palestinians need to act in their own interests no matter what the US says. Hannah Weisfeld says Israel needs to clearly label products from settlements. Wendy Kaminer says it's essential to protect the free speech rights of even the most extreme anti-Zionists.

October 16th

NEWS: The US says a renewed Palestinian UN bid would threaten the peace process. Palestinian officials say there are diminished hopes in the peace process and the prospects for a two-state solution. More evidence emerges that former PM Olmert may be planning a comeback to challenge PM Netanyahu. Israel's parliament formally announces elections for Jan. 22. Palestinian sources claim Pres. Abbas met secretly in Jordan last week with DM Barak. A leading Israeli radio station bans playing a military protest song. Egypt's campaign against Gaza smuggling tunnels demonstrates that national interests are trumping ideology. Smuggled iPhone 5s are reportedly selling well in Gaza in spite of astronomical prices. The PA announces a plan to increase trade with Arab countries. The US reiterates it does not accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlement activity. The BBC and Bloomberg both look at the Palestinian economic crisis. A new Egyptian movie looks unflinchingly at the fate of the Jewish community in that country. South Africa is moving forward with regulations to clearly distinguish settlement products from those made in Israel. COMMENTARY: David Myers says the threatened shutdown of Ben-Gurion University's Department of Politics and Government for political reasons would be “a further erosion of democratic values in Israel.” Akiva Eldar says a new Israeli government report demonstrates there is no Jewish majority between the river and the sea, and that, therefore, an apartheid reality now exists in the territories controlled by Israel. Salman Masalha says sensible Palestinian citizens of Israel have no one to vote for. Gershon Baskin outlines how, if he were Israel's prime minister, he would revive the peace process. Paul Scham and Edy Kaufman say it's time to look for alternatives to a two-state solution, but don't find any reasonable ones. Analysts call the planned visit by the Emir of Qatar to Gaza, "a reward to Hamas for breaking ties with Syria."

October 15th

NEWS: The Romney Campaign announces the formation of an “Arab-Americans for Romney” coalition. An all-female ticket is making its presence felt in upcoming local Palestinian elections. New Israeli airstrikes bring the number killed in Gaza during the ongoing round of violence to five. Former Hamas prisoner Shalit recalls his captivity in Gaza. The US cancels scholarships for students in Gaza after Israel refuses to allow them to travel. Islamists in Egypt play on anti-Israel sentiment. Pres. Abbas says he was “two months” away from a peace agreement with former PM Olmert. Salafists in Gaza complain Hamas is preventing them from establishing a new political party. The Emir of Qatar is reportedly planning to visit Gaza. A former senior aide to the late Pres. Arafat says Israel is reaching out to potential future Palestinian leaders, including those in Israeli prison. Israel is planning an international PR campaign to improve the image of settlers. PM Netanyahu is in a strong position for upcoming Israeli elections, but faces numerous uncertainties. Palestinians in the West Bank are holding weekly nonviolent protests against the latest expansion of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. COMMENTARY: Saliba Sarsar and Hussein Ibish point to vital lessons for the Middle East conflict from events during past Novembers. Barak Ravid says, as Israel's elections loom, Palestinians feel nothing but despair. Harriet Sherwood thinks Netanyahu is on the right track to victory. Ha'aretz interviews PLO official Ashrawi. Ari Shavit says new reports on secret Israeli-Syrian negotiations reflect well on Netanyahu. Amos Harel says extremists in Sinai are making a Hamas-Israel conflict, which neither party wants, more likely. Jeff Barak says the next American president will find a pressing need to get the parties to return to the negotiating table. Khaled Diab says Israeli settlers can prove to be unlikely peace activists. Zohar Nevo says the new head of Magen David has a long history of ugly anti-Arab racism. Pierre Klochendler looks at the struggle over neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.

October 12th

NEWS:Yedioth Ahronoth claims secret peace negotiations took place between the Israeli and Syrian governments in late 2010. Hezbollah confirms it launched a drone over Israel. Iran and the economy are likely to dominate Israel's upcoming election. A poll suggests a super-coalition of left of center parties could win a majority. Hamas bans the announcement of a new Salafist party in Gaza. The ADL withdraws from an interfaith dialogue group over questions about US aid to Israel. Palestinian university staff in the West Bank and Gaza may go on strike. The PA and Jordan sign agricultural cooperation agreements.Israeli settlers are accused of stealing tons of topsoil from Palestinian land. Israel announces another initiative to establish a special police unit to deal with settler terrorism. A human rights group says the Israeli government is not doing enough to protect Palestinian olive trees from destruction by Israeli settlers. In rare cases settlers are helping and cooperating with Palestinians. Real estate in Gaza has become among the most expensive land in the world.The spiritual head of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood says “jihad” is the only way to deal with Israel. COMMENTARY: Shmuel Rosner recounts an ideological Israeli tour of the occupied West Bank that suggests Israel should control the area permanently.Ha'aretz says Israel needs to do more to fight discrimination against Arab women. Adi Schwartz says it is high time that Israel raised the issue of Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world. Meron Benvenisti tells other Jewish Israelis to "stop whining" and become one-staters. Ha'aretz interviews released PA prisoner Zakaria Zubeidi. Gilead Sher says both Israel and the Palestinians should engage in “constructive unilateralism.” Tariq Alhomayed says while Hamas leader Mishaal is admitting the organization's failures, it is in fact linked to a generalized governance failure of Islamists. Helmi Moussa says rocket attacks from Gaza challenge Israel's strategy. Gil Troy says he cannot bring himself to vote for PM Netanyahu. Graham Allison says Israel has credibility problems with its talk of “red lines” regarding Iran. Jonathan Schanzer looks at the succession and power struggles in Hamas.

October 11th

NEWS: The US and Israel are staging a massive air defense drill. Palestinian voters seem skeptical about the value of upcoming local elections in the occupied West Bank. Israeli warplanes attack militant facilities in northern Gaza. The PA anti-corruption commission is investigating PLO-owned land registered in the name of individual officials. An Israeli man suffers minor injuries after being stabbed by a Palestinian near Bethlehem. A new Israeli poll suggests PM Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition partners are stronger than ever.Palestinians say they don't expect any changes to Israeli policies as a result of the election. Palestinian parties in Israel may unite under a single ticket for the election. The Arab world seems uninterested in Israel's election. Netanyahu appears to be hoping to gain by the revival of Republican presidential candidate Romney's prospects. Palestinians urge Romney to take a more balanced view of the conflict. The PA says Israel is violating Oslo Agreement water pricing. EU officials say they warned Palestinians about the potential costs of a renewed UN bid. Outgoing Hamas leader Mishaal admits it is difficult to reconcile “resistance” with governance and calls on Islamists to manage their relations with the West. COMMENTARY: David Landau says former PM Olmert must run in the coming Israeli elections if there is any hope of defeating Netanyahu. Eric Yoffie says Israelis should make peace a central election issue. Roni Shaked says Hamas wants to avoid a major escalation with Israel in spite of recent violence. Douglas Bloomfield says Netanyahu has found the Iranian nuclear program a convenient excuse for no progress on peace with the Palestinians. Yolande Knell asks why Netanyahu has called an early election. Nathan Jeffay says Netanyahu laid the grounds for the new elections in his UN speech.

October 10th

NEWS: Pres. Abbas will reportedly call for renewed negotiations with Israel without preconditions following a UN vote in November. PM Netanyahu announces new Israeli elections for early 2013. Former Israeli PM Olmert may be considering a comeback. More rockets are fired at southern Israel from Gaza following renewed Israeli airstrikes. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has softened his stance towards the Palestinians. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon face growing health concerns. Hamas says it will investigate reports that its forces abused journalists. The Israeli military says it may reinstitute Arabic translations during military tribunals in the occupied West Bank. The unemployment rate among Palestinian citizens of Israel appears to be twice as high as previously thought. The PA reiterates that lack of interest from donors has intensified its cash crisis. The PA approves the first private-sector Palestinian minimum wage. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says settler violence is inherent to the social dynamics and ideology of the occupation. Andrew Quinn says Romney's Middle East policy speech was short on details. Chris McGreal asks if there any real differences between Romney's policies and Pres. Obama's. Sefi Rachlevsky says it's possible for a coalition of non-right-wing political parties to prevail in the next election. Gershon Baskin says turning away from a two-state solution would be a disaster for both Israeli and Palestinian self-determination. Emad El Din Adeeb thinks the 1973 war was an Arab military victory. Reuven Pedatzur says Israel can deter Iran. A new film looks at sexual affairs between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Aaron David Miller says neither Obama nor Romney are as "good" or "bad" on Israel as Jewish Americans think. Abdullatif Al-Mulhim says the Arab world has wasted billions of dollars and tens of thousands of innocent lives quixotically fighting Israel.

October 9th

NEWS: Israel launches fresh air strikes against Gaza following an exchange of fire with militants. Lebanon says Israeli warplanes circled its airspace for an hour. Israel deploys a missile defense system after shooting down a suspected drone. Iran says the incident highlights Israel's vulnerability. Violent Israeli settlers are again disrupting the olive picking season in the occupied West Bank. Three settlers are arrested for assaulting undercover Israeli police officers posing as Palestinians. Prominent Israelis attend an event in honor of a settler about to be incarcerated for abusing a Palestinian teenager. Hamas persists in boycotting upcoming local West Bank elections. The PA says it cannot yet set a date for paying public employees' September salaries. Palestinian officials say a renewed UN bid is the only way to counter Israeli settlement expansion. The Media Line profiles a Palestinian businessman accused of fraud who has fled to Jordan. Young Israelis are increasingly moving to the occupied Golan Heights. COMMENTARY: Republican candidate Mitt Romney outlines his vision of Middle East policy in a speech at VMI. Israelis and Palestinians react to Romney's address. Chemi Shalev says the speech sounds like former Pres. George W. Bush but reads like Pres. Obama. The Jerusalem Post says it won't back either American candidate. David Rothkopf says Israel and the US are coming close to an agreement on how an attack against Iran would be structured. Oudeh Basharat says Israel's new campaign on Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world is designed to thwart Palestinian claims. The Daily Star says the anniversary of the 1973 war with Israel shows how much the Arab world has abandoned its ideals. Jacob Silverman looks at the differences in perspective between Norman Finkelstein and Anna Baltzer as a generational divide.Kate Gould says unconditional US military aid to Israel fuels violence with the Palestinians. Ibrahim Sharqieh says Obama must stand up to PM Netanyahu on Israeli settler violence. Linda Gradstein says an Israel-Iran war is not on the horizon. Hussein Ibish says the ongoing exchange of missile attacks with Israel illustrates much about changes taking place within Hamas.

October 5th

NEWS: Violent clashes erupt at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in occupied East Jerusalem after extremist Israelis repeatedly enter Muslim holy areas. Some Jewish extremists in Israel dream of establishing a “Third Temple” on the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and they are moving closer to Israel's social and political mainstream. Independent Israeli newspapers are under severe pressure from market and political forces. An unidentified American citizen kills one Israeli worker at an Israeli resort before being shot by police. A Lebanese man pleads not guilty in Cyprus to charges of planning to attack Israelis. A 20-year-old man is in hospital in Gaza after immolating himself. The PA says it's now starting to distribute public employees' August salaries. Large groups of American evangelical Christians march in Jerusalem in support of Israel. A prominent member of Ramla's Muslim community is found murdered inside the city's Great Mosque. Former Defense Secretary Gates says the US must prevent an Israeli attack against Iran. Israelis and Palestinians cooperate to lay optical cable for Internet services in Gaza. UK FM Hague expresses concern about Israel's West Bank separation barrier. COMMENTARY: Salman Masalha claims Jordan is meddling in Israeli politics. Ha'aretz profiles Marwan Makhoul, a poet who is a Palestinian citizen of Israel. Linda Gradstein says Israeli concerns about the consequences of the conflict in Syria are increasing. Tariq Alhomayed considers the absurdity of Syrian government condemnations of Hamas. Alex Fishman says the Israeli government is being hypocritical in its purported determination to fight settler “price tag” violence. Chuck Freilich says PM Netanyahu is stacking his cabinet in favor of an attack against Iran. Emily Hauser explains how poisonous anti-Semitism is for the Palestinian cause.

October 4th

NEWS: A rift seems to be growing between PM Netanyahu and DM Barak over relations with the US, fueling speculation about an early election. FM Lieberman calls the bickering "unnecessary.” Nationalistic Jewish activists in Israel are increasingly moving into Arab neighborhoods in mixed cities. Journalists at Ha'aretz go on strike. The UN is likely to hold a debate on nonmember observer state status for Palestine in mid-November, after the US election. Hamas denies accusations by Human Rights Watch that it engages in torture and other systematic abuses.The PA says it doesn't expect much help from the donor community and that its budget crisis will worsen. Jewish South Africans are trying to block measures to label Israeli settlement products. A Palestinian citizen of Israel is indicted on espionage charges. Settlers are trying to get Israeli occupation authorities to grant them control of a house in occupied Hebron. Paris signs a cooperation agreement with Palestinian East Jerusalem. Palestinian officials meet with Egypt's intelligence chief. COMMENTARY: Haaretz interviews Dalia Gavriely-Nur on Israelis and peace. The Jerusalem Post complains about what it calls “the radicalization of the Israeli Arab sector.” Joseph Kechichian asks if Israel is a threat to US national interests. George Hishmeh says time is running out for peace. Nassif Hitti asks if a “Palestinian Spring” or a third intifada is in the offing. Noam Sheizaf looks at changes in the Israeli media. Peter Beinart says it's not possible to blame the Palestinians alone, or even mainly, for the present diplomatic impasse.

October 3rd

NEWS: A new UN report says the Israeli occupation is continuing to impede Palestinian access to basic services. PM Netanyahu plans to tour Europe to discuss Iran. Pres. Abbas reiterates that Palestine will apply for UN nonmember observer state status sometime in the next 2 months. The PA says it is trying to coordinate with the EU over the language of the draft resolution. Hamas is reportedly upset about Egypt's new policies towards Gaza, and is seeking a free-trade agreement. Human Rights Watch says Hamas’ security forces in Gaza are committing severe abuses, including torture. Qatar is inviting bids on reconstruction projects it is financing in Gaza. The PA says it will comply with a court order to rehire teachers fired for “security reasons,” and that it will announce a minimum wage on October 15. EU foreign ministers are pushing to clearly label all Israeli settlement products. Israeli media reports suggest Netanyahu may be blaming DM Barak for instigating tensions with the United States, but Barak denies the accusations. The political science department at Ben-Gurion University is placed at risk due to a controversy over settlements. New reports in the Arab press suggest Gaza-based Hamas leader Hanniyeh may become the next head of the organization, not the Cairo-based Abu Marzouk. 20 more Palestinians are reported killed by bombing from Syrian government forces. COMMENTARY: Daniel Haboucha dissects Israel's new campaign to compare Palestinian refugees with Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world. Shmuel Rosner says Palestinians need to do more to acknowledge Jewish history in Jerusalem. Shaul Arieli says for all of the settlement activity, there isn't enough Jewish demographic dominance in the West Bank to make unilateral annexation possible. Shlomo Avineri says foreign donors, particularly conservative Americans, are dominating Israel's election financing, and distorting its democracy. Gershon Baskin says the UN charter requires 2 states for 2 people. Kenneth Bandler says the biggest obstacles to peace come from Palestinian attitudes. Gil Troy agrees, citing Abbas' UN speech. David Makovsky says the US and Israel should keep their bickering behind closed doors. Raja Shehadeh says Palestinians are being coerced, and even blackmailed, by Israeli occupation authorities over access to healthcare.

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