February 29th

NEWS: ATFP hosts a hosts a Washington dinner for the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land. Israeli occupation forces raid two private TV stations in the West Bank and confiscate equipment, which the PA says violates the Oslo Accords. Israel criticizes an invitation from the PLO to Security Council members to visit the occupied territories, as Palestinians begin to lobby for a resolution condemning settlement activity. The PA says it has made no decision regarding the future of security cooperation with Israel. Palestinians say the Chief Justice of their high religious court died two days after a raid on his home by occupation forces and hold Israel responsible. Israel uses its new “skunk” weapon against protesters in Hebron. A new Israeli study holds that the country's security situation is the worst in decades. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson reportedly gives another “substantial” donation to an organization associated with Newt Gingrich. Pro-Israel voices in the United States join calls for removing the Iranian MEK organization from the official list of designated foreign terrorist groups. COMMENTARY: Zvi Bar'el says the Israeli government believes in numerous mirages. Yitzhak Laor says Israelis are too insulated from the costs of occupation. Arieh O’Sullivan tracks the growing Palestinian opposition to armed resistance. Jonathan Marcus speculates about how Israel might go about attacking Iran if it decided to do so. Daniel Zemel and Jack Moline say Israelis should return to the more tolerant Zionism of the late PM Rabin. Emad El Din Adeeb says the coming phase in Palestinian politics will favor Hamas and its politburo chief. Osama Al Sharif asks if it's too late to save Arab East Jerusalem. Lara Friedman recounts her second, more encouraging, day at a conference on East Jerusalem in Qatar. Tony Karon asks if Hamas' break with Iran is good for Israel. Shibley Telhami looks at Israeli public opinion regarding a possible attack against Iran.

February 28th

NEWS: Israel takes the unusual step of naming a city square after a Palestinian doctor. Israeli troops kill an unidentified man on the Sinai border. The Israeli government asks residents of the largest "unauthorized settlement" to voluntarily relocate. Gaza's power-plant shuts down again. A Palestinian woman being held without charge by Israel is on a hunger strike. Hanan Ashrawi says Israel should end its "policy of racism." Israeli occupation authorities say they intend to build an industrial zone on the site Palestinians had identified for a future Palestinian state airport. Israeli officials reportedly say they would not warn the United States before attacking Iran. J Street brings a delegation of Americans, including six members of Congress, to Israel and the occupied territories. Hamas leaders admit that Iran is angry with the organization for siding with the Syrian opposition. Palestinian officials ask Qatar-based Islamist cleric Qaradawi to retract an opinion that non-Palestinians should not visit Jerusalem. COMMENTARY: Xinhua interviews Gaza-based Hamas leader Haniyyeh. Moshe Arens says Palestinian Muslim and Christian citizens of Israel must serve in the military. The Jerusalem Post praises the late former Israeli PM Begin for not wanting to end the occupation. Susan Hattis Rolef says Israeli courts must decide the demarcation line between Zionists and fascists.Gershon Baskin continues to answer questions from those skeptical about the possibility of peace. Lara Friedman says a recent conference on Jerusalem in Qatar totally ignored Jewish history and much of what was said there was objectionable and painful. Bilal Hassan says confronting Israel is an Arab, and not just a Palestinian, imperative. Hussein Ibish says conditions for the eruption of a third intifada are quickly building.

February 27th

NEWS: The Catholic Church asks Israel to help end attacks on churches in Israel and the occupied territories. Egypt will supply more power to Gaza, but local authorities say it's not enough. Pres. Abbas accuses Israel of conducting “ethnic cleansing” in Jerusalem, which PM Netanyahu angrily denies. Qatar's Emir agrees Arab identity in Jerusalem is at risk. Most other Palestinian parties are blaming Hamas for the impasse in national reconciliation talks. Hamas leaders say they now openly support the Syrian uprising, and analysts say it marks a historic shift in Hamas' regional alignments. Israel is threatening to demolish Palestinian solar energy installations in the occupied territories because they were built “without permission.” Qatar reportedly pledges $250 million for reconstruction in Gaza. Israel is planning a huge railway network for the occupied territories. Israeli officials fear the outbreak of another Palestinian intifada, but not in the coming year. COMMENTARY: AP interviews Hamas leader Abu Marzouk about the group's relocation from Syria. Akiva Eldar says Netanyahu was peddling a swindle during the last round of negotiations. Anshel Pfeffer says Israeli officials are skeptical about a planned pro-Palestinian mass march on Jerusalem next month. The Jerusalem Post interviews former Mossad Chief Halevy, who says it makes no sense to ask Palestinians to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” Leonard Fein says Israel needs to face up to its own nuclear arsenal. Shlomo Gazit says there is no apartheid in Israel, but there is discrimination against Palestinian citizens. Samah Jabr says life in the occupied territories is very much like apartheid. Matt Duss looks at the politics and economics of smuggling in Gaza. U Penn student Joshua Goldman says his “Birthright Israel” experience was hardly apolitical, but in fact tendentious propaganda.

February 24th

NEWS: Palestinians present their own account of what happened in recent negotiations, after Israel leaked its version. The UNSC condemns recent bombing attacks on Israeli diplomats. Two Palestinians are injured in an Israeli airsrike on Gaza. A crisis emerges in Palestinian unity negotiations. The BBC looks at the roots of the crisis. Hamas denies being a obstacle to national unity, or a factor in unrest in Egypt. Occupation forces clash with Palestinian protesters at East Jerusalem holy sites. The US refuses a visa to a right-wing extremist Jewish MK. 400 Palestinians protest in occupied Hebron to open one of the city's main streets to Palestinian traffic. COMMENTARY: Dalia Dassa Kaye says Israel faces bad options regarding Iran's nuclear program. Doron Rosenblum says the current Israeli government doesn't seem to think past the use of force. Xinhua looks at how Israel's coalition politics might affect its foreign policy. Chemi Shalev says Israel's quest for close allies beyond the US and Western Europe is pointless. Tal Becker asks if “delegitimization” is a threat or a nuisance to Israel. J.J. Goldberg says Pres. Obama and PM Netanyahu might agree on Iran more than many think, but they don't trust each other. Paul Findlay says Israel wants to bomb Iran to preserve its nuclear monopoly. Michael Broning says the apparent new flexibility of some Hamas leaders should be tested by engagement. Hasan Barari says Israel is faced with strategic dilemmas regarding the future of Syria. John Dugard says there are some important similarities between Israel's occupation and apartheid in South Africa but that doesn't mean the same response makes sense.

February 23rd

NEWS: The Israeli government gives preliminary approval for 600 more settler housing units. An agreement between Hamas and Egypt may end the fuel crisis in Gaza. Hamas abandons the plan to tax goods imported through Israel. An Israeli talkshow host is being investigated for calling leftists and Arabs “anti-Semites” and “Nazis.” US officials and EU FP chief Ashton criticize Israel's decision to retroactively recognize “unauthorized” settlement units. Extremist settlers propose Israel annex huge chunks of the occupied territories. Hamas and Fatah hold talks in Cairo on a national unity government. News reports say Hamas will demand key positions in any new government, including the Interior Ministry, and no change in security arrangements. PLO officials dismiss Israel's leaked account of recent negotiations as “half-truths.” COMMENTARY: Ari Shavit says it's up to Pres. Obama to stop an Israeli attack on Iran. Bradley Burston says the BDS movement is coming under some overdue scrutiny. Mira Sucharov says a recent debate on Twitter over a hunger strike shows how value-free the conversation has become. Cameron Brown says whatever they think about Israel, most Jewish Americans should and will continue to support Obama. Ray Hanania says Palestinians need to do more to tell their story through film. Douglas Bloomfield notes GOP presidential candidates are doing almost nothing to reach out to Arab-American voters. Robert Zaretsky says French Jews mostly support Pres. Sarkozy. John Whitbeck says Palestinians have real options in the UN General Assembly. Alex Brummer says Israel would improve its security and future by addressing concerns of its Bedouin citizens. The Economist interviews Hirsh Goodman on the future of Israel. David Makovsky says issues regarding Iran will challenge relations between Obama and PM Netanyahu as never before.

February 22nd

NEWS: A deal is struck whereby a Palestinian prisoner will end his lengthy hunger strike and Israeli authorities say he will be released or charged by mid-April. Israeli officials say they would welcome the fall of the Syrian regime but are worried about the consequences of unrest. Most Israelis seem to believe it is inevitable their country will attack Iran. Palestinian factional leaders will meet in Cairo, as they trade accusations about the fuel crisis in Gaza. Higher education employees in the occupied territories go on strike. Hamas leaders again say they have resolved their differences over the agreement with Pres. Abbas. Jordan's King Abdullah blames Israel for the deadlock in peace negotiations. The Israeli government retroactively approves almost 200 settlement housing units constructed without authorization.Some activists have changed their of views of Norman Finkelstein following an interview in which he harshly derided the one-state agenda. COMMENTARY: Mustafa Barghouthi says Palestinians can win independence through nonviolent protests. David Rosenberg says vandalism attacks against Jerusalem churches are reflective of deep-seated antipathy towards Christians in Israel. Michael Young says Israel, at least under PM Netanyahu, doesn't make a believable victim regarding the Iranian nuclear program. Linda Heard says Egypt's relationship with Washington and peace treaty with Israel are in peril. N. Janardhan looks at India's policies towards Iran and Israel. Jillian Kestler-D’Amours says a recent Israeli Supreme Court decision allows the plundering of natural resources in the occupied territories. Leila Hilal says deputy FM Ayalon is peddling mythology about Palestinian refugees. Mairav Zonszein says Khader Adnan’s hunger strike was important not because he is a good man but because due process is indispensable. The LA Times looks at a new play based on the death of Rachel Corrie. Ali Khaled says Israel's narrative falls flat when it identifies children as “terrorists.”

February 21st

NEWS: Some Hamas leaders are saying the group is committed to the agreement with Fatah, but that it needs to be revised. Israel reiterates that it won't negotiate with any government that involves Hamas. Israeli officials give their account of recent negotiations to Ha'aretz. An Israeli court moves forward to hearing on a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner. The hunger strike calls attention to Israel's policy of “administrative detention” without charges. PM Netanyahu will meet Pres. Obama on March 5. Emergency fuel for Gaza arrives from Egypt through tunnels. High-tech companies spring up across the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli police arrest right-wing Jewish activists suspected of planning provocations at Jerusalem holy sites, and others are suspected in another vandalism attack against the Jerusalem church. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson is reportedly planning to give another $10 million to groups supporting Newt Gingrich. COMMENTARY: Sefi Rachlevsky says Netanyahu should be careful not to unravel Israel's relationship with the United States. Akiva Eldar says Israel is willing to demolish occupied Palestinian villages but not “unauthorized” settlement outposts. Chaim Levinson says Israeli negligence led to the avoidable death of a Palestinian car thief. Gershon Baskin says there are no better leaders than Netanyahu and Pres. Abbas to make real peace. Roy Greenslade says Palestinian journalists are under pressure from all sides. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Hayya. Yossi Alpher says that, if reelected, Obama is going to have to seriously reconsider his approach to Middle East peace. Ghassan Khatib says Palestinians may need to explore other strategies, including more UN initiatives. Chuck Freilich says because there are no real alternatives to a two-state solution, its potential realization must be preserved even with diplomacy deadlocked. Issa Samandar says Palestinian frustrations have laid the groundwork for another uprising.

February 17th

NEWS: Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders say they might try to review the peace treaty with Israel if United States eliminates aid. Palestinians mourn schoolchildren killed in a bus accident. Israeli leaders and foreign diplomats are among those extending condolences. PM Fayyad says the PA is operating in occupied East Jerusalem, which is central to any peace agreement with Israel. A village near Nablus has become an epicenter of settler violence. Hezbollah denies any involvement in recent attacks on Israeli diplomats, as Israel says Iran is planning more. Israelis and Palestinians come together to search for bargains in a small West Bank town. The president of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee says laws barring Palestinians from owning property are “unjust.” Reuters looks at the future of Israel's largest “unauthorized” settlement outpost, Migron. COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz says it's unacceptable that Israeli airport security treats Palestinian citizens of Israel as suspicious objects. Yoel Marcus says Israel doesn't have the military ability to destroy Iran's nuclear program. Esther Zandberg looks at controversies regarding Israel's urban planning strategies in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post says it's important that Israel continues to build stronger relations with Cyprus and Greece. Donald MacIntyre compares hunger striking Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan to the IRA's Bobby Sands. André de Nesnera asks if the Hamas-Fatah agreement will have an impact on the peace process with Israel. The Jerusalem Post interviews the new New York Times Jerusalem Bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren. Logan Bayroff says passionate arguments about the BDS movement are suffocating dialogue at campuses like U Penn. Moriel Rothman says the tragedy of the Holocaust needs to be disentangled from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sarah Wildman looks at the emergence of the new left-wing Israeli webzine +972.

February 16th

NEWS: At least 8 Palestinian children are killed in a bus crash in the occupied West Bank. Israel again accuses Iran of being responsible for attacks, and attempted attacks, against its diplomats. Thai officials agree that Iran was trying to target Israeli diplomats. In a reversal, PM Netanyahu says sanctions against Iran are proving ineffective. Netanyahu visits Cyprus. Gaza's only power plant is shut down due to a shortage of smuggled fuel from Egypt. A Palestinian citizen of Israel journalist says she won't fly El Al again after the way she was searched on her last flight. The Obama administration is seeking a waiver on the prohibition of US funding of UNESCO following Palestine's admittance as a member. Significant rifts are developing between American and European umbrella Jewish organizations. A leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad held prisoner by Israel is reportedly near death due to a hunger strike. COMMENTARY: Fareed Zakaria says the idea that Israel and the United States have to act against a potentially nuclear Iran is wrong because deterrence works, but Benny Morris says they face a stark choice. George Hishmeh says troubling though the Syrian crisis is, the Israeli-Iranian imbroglio is potentially more dangerous to Middle Eastern stability. Osama Al Sharif says if Israel attacks Iran, it will be intentionally triggering a regional war, and may wish to do so. Ari Shavit says that recent developments mean that peace will be the result of a slow and grinding end to the occupation rather than diplomatic breakthroughs. Gideon Levy says both Israel and Iran are using terrorism, including against each other. The National says no one should jump to conclusions in the exchange of Iranian-Israeli accusations. Carlo Strenger says there are interesting parallels in the radicalization of both the Israeli and the American political right. Tamar Hermann says Israeli society is fragmented but not tribalist. Houriya Ahmed says the Hamas-Fatah deal might sideline PM Fayyad.

February 15th

NEWS: Israel says failed bombings in Bangkok are linked to attacks on its diplomats in India and Georgia, and again accuses Iran of being responsible. The attacks may be retaliation for the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists. Pres. Abbas says the world needs to remember the principles and terms of reference underlining the peace process. The PA cabinet agrees to limit increases on the top bracket, but raises taxes overall as foreign aid declines. Hamas Politburo head Mishaal and Gaza leader Haniyyeh meet in Qatar but are unable to resolve differences over the agreement with Abbas. Israel approves a tourist center in a highly contentious Arab neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Israel's justice minister is filmed instructing Israeli extremists how to formulate pardon requests. Palestinians are increasingly adopting, and training themselves, in nonviolent tactics. Def. Sec. Panetta says he doesn't think Israel has decided to attack Iran. COMMENTARY: The Washington Post says the US should make its red lines on the Iranian nuclear program clear to Israel. Lara Friedman says Israel's ability to deal with its largest “unauthorized” settlement could determine the country's entire future. Akiva Eldar says neither Abbas nor Pres. Obama should expect any political help from PM Netanyahu. Ha'aretz calls a new "cultural center" in the Israeli settlement of Ariel its “Academy for Occupation.” Bradley Burston says Iran is the best friend of the settlers. Ray Hanania says negotiations are at an impasse due to bad decisions by both leaderships. The Forward says Jewish Americans should stop overreacting to the BDS campaign. Hani al-Masri says the real question is how Israel will react to the Hamas-Fatah agreement. Yisrael Harel says Israelis will probably conclude that the agreement means any deal they make with the Palestinians won't stick. Hussein Ibish analyzes the bitter dispute growing among Hamas leaders.

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