April 27th

NEWS: The PA Communications Minister is resigning after criticizing a crackdown on websites critical of the government. The PA is continuing with its crackdown on criticism. DM Barak says chances are “low” that Iran can be dissuaded from developing a nuclear weapon. The Israeli government asks for a 90 day extension of a court order to demolish an “unauthorized” settlement outpost. PLO officials say Israel settlement activity proves it's not interested in a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. The CSM looks at growing ties between Israel and Azerbaijan. Palestinian officials say better tax enforcement has increased PA revenue. Pres. Abbas and Hamas leader Mishaal have a telephone conversation about rallying support for hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The US House of Representatives is moving to approve $680 million in more aid for Israel's “Iron Dome” antimissile system. Israeli officials disagree about what PM Netanyahu meant when he told CNN he was in favor of a “contiguous” Palestinian state. VP Biden says no president has done more for Israel since Truman than Obama. COMMENTARY: Yossi Sarid says the Israeli military remains unreformed. Lyn Julius says the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries is important. Uri Savir says the EU needs a common approach on the Middle East and especially Israeli-Palestinian issues. The Forward says Israel's national anthem could easily be rewritten to reflect the aspirations of all its citizens. Alan Phillips says despair about the plausibility of a two-state solution is leading some serious observers, especially in Europe, to look at fresh ideas. George Hishmeh says there are real grounds for doubting whether a second term Pres. Obama would seriously attempt to reengage with Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Dylan Evans looks at the possibility of another war between Israel and Hezbollah. Ben Lynfield says the occupation is having a very corrosive effect on Israeli society. The Arab News says Israel's settlement outpost activities amount to “official larceny.” Frida Ghitis says if Netanyahu is serious about really engaging the Palestinians in peace negotiations, he should make them a serious offer.

April 26th

NEWS: Israel celebrates its 64th Independence Day in a mix of pessimism and enthusiasm. IDF chief Gantz says Israel and “other nations” are prepared to attack Iran, if necessary. The deadline for a court-ordered destruction of a settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank threatens the unity of Israel's cabinet. Pres. Abbas calls on Arabs and Muslims around the world to visit Jerusalem. Israeli settlers attack a village and block a road near Nablus. The US says it is concerned by the PAs blocking of certain websites, and PalTel officials say they have no choice but to comply with censorship orders. Up to 2000 Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel are now on hunger strike. Hamas officials deny reports that Ismail Hanniyeh was elected to head its Gaza politburo in a secret vote earlier this month. Many Palestinians fear Ramallah's apparent boom of prosperity could soon turn into an economic bust. Jordan's Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh resigns after 6 months in office on an anti-corruption platform. COMMENTARY: Gideon Levy says Israel's government is providing “unauthorized” settlement outposts with every convenience and service. Oudeh Basharat demands to know whether Israel is going to attack Iran or not. Carlo Strenger says on its 64th birthday Israel should look for alternatives to mindless fear mongering or self-righteous utopianism. Kasim Hafeez says he's proud to be a British Muslim Zionist. Rep. Howard Berman says Israel's “Iron Dome” antimissile system is an investment in stability. The National says Hamas' leadership crisis couldn't come at a worse time for Palestinians. Calcalist asks why Egypt canceled its natural gas deal with Israel. Ali Matash says his human rights organization was shut down by the PA to prevent them from exposing corruption scandals. Gershon Baskin says Hamas should be seen as “hard-line pragmatists.” Meir Javedanfar says PM Netanyahu's policies towards Iran are proving increasingly unpopular with the Israeli public.

April 25th

NEWS: An Israeli court orders the release of Palestinian protest leader Bassem al-Tamimi. IDF Chief of Staff Gantz says Iran's leaders are rational actors and will respond to international pressure not to build a nuclear weapon. New Kadima leader Mofaz warns that without peace with the Palestinians, Israel is bound to become a binational, and not a Jewish, state. The natural gas dispute between Israel and Egypt reflects significant changes in their relationship since the overthrow of former Pres. Mubarak. The National looks at the political implications of the controversy. While Israeli officials have been downplaying the dispute, the Israeli media sees it as extremely ominous. The United States says Israel's recognition of “unauthorized” outposts is “unhelpful” and that the US doesn't "accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.” UNSG Ban also says he is “deeply troubled” by increased settlement activity, including outposts. Israel's navy arrests Gaza fishermen. Airports in Scandinavia are prohibiting Israeli airlines' security procedures based on profiling. Conditions for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are reportedly deteriorating. COMMENTARY: Paul Krugman says "the narrow-minded policies of the current [Israeli] government are basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide." Avraham Burg says Israel needs a constitution. Doron Rosenblum says Israeli hasbara can't hide the ugliness of the effects of some of its policies. Bradley Burston says the best way to celebrate this Israeli Independence Day is to buy Palestinian products. CNN interviews PM Netanyahu. The Jerusalem Post interviews Pres. Peres. The Forward reviews a new novel illustrating the complexities of identity for Palestinian citizens of Israel. Leah Koenig explains why she had good reasons for opposing a boycott of all Israeli products at her New York food co-op. Osama Al Sharif asks if it's too late to save Arab East Jerusalem. Daniel Levy says it's actually Benny Morris, not the Palestinians, who clings to absolutist rejectionism.

April 24th

Ha'aretz reports that Ismail Haniyeh has been secretly elected by a “significant margin” to head Hamas' Political Bureau in Gaza, while several noted "moderates" were not elected to the committee. Israel recognizes three “unauthorized” settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank. PM Netanyahu is asking Israel Supreme Court to defer eviction orders against more "unauthorized" outposts. Hamas says it will start teaching Hebrew in Gaza high schools next year. Israel has options for dealing with the cut off of natural gas from Egypt. Israel is punishing hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners. UNRWA inaugurates a Dutch-funded housing project for 1,300 Palestinians in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. Israel bans a textbook that encourages respect for the rights of Palestinian citizens. Palestinian officials say they will ask the UN Security Council to censure Israel on settlement expansion. Several websites are reportedly being blocked by the PA, many reportedly “loyal to Muhammad Dahlan.” Yasser Abed Rabbo has reportedly been dismissed as the PA media supervisor because he declined to join an official Palestinian delegation to deliver a letter to PM Netanyahu. Israeli officials reportedly describe a 60 Minutes report on the plight of Palestinian Christians as a “strategic terror attack." COMMENTARY: Ami Ayalon, Orni Petruschka and Gilead Sher say Israel should begin to unilaterally establish new de facto borders along the security barrier lines in the occupied West Bank. AP interviews PLO official Qureia, who expresses growing Palestinian doubts about the plausibility of a two-state solution. Ha'aretz says the natural gas dispute with Egyptian should not become a political issue, but Gershon Baskin says it is another sign of Israel's deteriorating relations with all its neighbors. Sefi Rachlevsky says that by attempting to bypass the High Court, the Knesset is, in effect, planning to end Israel's democracy. Zalman Shoval says there are many possible scenarios that could unfold, but a single Israeli-Palestinian state is not one of them. Joseph Dana says it's obvious that Israel is trying to seize all of occupied East Jerusalem permanently. Ben Caspit says FM Lieberman told him he's more "worried about Egypt than Iran." Efraim Inbar says the problem with Kadima leader Mofaz's peace ideas is that neither side would accept them. Hussein Ibish says in a recent interview with The Forward Hamas leader Abu Marzook demonstrated yet again that the group is not capable of leading the Palestinian national movement.

April 23rd

NEWS: CBS' 60 Minutes profiles the plight of Palestinian Christians. Egypt cancels the delivery of natural gas to Israel, citing a payment dispute, but PM Netanyahu downplays the development. Israeli commandos raid a Liberian-registered ship searching for arms. The Israeli military says it is increasing covert operations. The EU condemns the eviction of a Palestinian family from their home in occupied East Jerusalem in favor of Israeli settlers. PM Fayyad announces Palestine has joined an IMF statistical agency. The UN says Israel displaced 67 Palestinian refugees last week. Pres. Peres says Israel could reach a peace agreement with Pres. Abbas. Israeli prosecutors are reportedly seeking a plea bargain with FM Lieberman in a corruption case. Medical malpractice cases are almost impossible to pursue in Gaza. Hunger striking Palestinian prisoners are calling attention to Israel's policy of "administrative detention.” COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz says if Netanyahu cannot enforce High Court orders, he should dissolve the government and seek a popular mandate on peace and settlement policies. Zvi Bar'el says Egypt's cancellation of the natural gas contract is a dangerous precedent. The Jewish Daily Forward says its interview with a senior Hamas leader raises both concerns and possibilities. Natasha Mozgovaya asks if it was proper for Israeli Amb. Oren to attempt to influence the 60 Minutes story on the plight of Palestinian Christians. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews PLO official Quray. Elias Harfoush says the criticism of Egyptian Grand Mufti Gomaa's visit to occupied East Jerusalem is unjustified. Kataryzna Lemanska and Stuart Reigeluth say the EU has a important opportunity to pressure Israel on its aggressive policies towards the Palestinians. Randa Haidar says Israel sees the Syrian dictatorship as the lesser of two evils, preferring it to a failed state in Syria. Rashid Khalidi responds to defenders of the Simon Wiesenthal Center on the proposed “Museum of Tolerance” to be built on a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. Yossi Alpher says Kadima leader Mofaz's ideas on peace are an important step in the right direction, but Ghassan Khatib says they show the failings of Israeli mainstream thinking in general.

April 20th

NEWS: Hamas leader Abu Marzook, in a wide-ranging interview with the Jewish Daily Forward, says his organization seeks a long-term truce with Israel, but not peace, and would not be bound by any conflict-ending agreement made by the PLO. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood condemns a visit to occupied East Jerusalem by Grand Mufti Gomaa. An Israeli man is stabbed by a Palestinian in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli officials say rockets fired from Gaza were smuggled from Libya. UN officials say the execution of three men by Hamas recently was unlawful and executions should stop. Doctors say an 18-year-old Palestinian shepherd was shot by Israeli forces during a training exercise in the northern West Bank. Newly released Israeli documents describe the interrogation of Marwan Barghouti 10 years ago. Pres. Abbas may be using is Asia tour to gauge support for Palestinian UN nonmember state status. A Danish protester whose assault by an Israeli soldier was caught on video says no one would have cared about the incident if he were a Palestinian. Fewer Israelis are immigrating to the United States in recent years and more are returning to Israel due to a booming economy. COMMENTARY: Raja Shehadeh says Palestinians handled this Easter's celebrations superbly. Shmuel Rosner says the uproar over the proposed law allowing the Knesset to overrule the Supreme Court is unjustified. Baha Hilo says, despite Israeli claims, real problems facing Palestinian Christians mainly come from dealing with Israel, not Palestinian Muslims. Ha'aretz says Israel is allowing settlers to impose anarchy in the occupied Palestinian territories. Hirsh Goodman says the Israeli soldier who struck unarmed activists with his rifle is a disgrace. Patrick Seale says Israel's regional power is waning, and will be even further eroded if Western negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program are successful. Yossi Eli looks at the complicated story behind the reopening of the St. George Hotel in occupied East Jerusalem. Omri Meniv looks at controversies surrounding whether or not to include any aspects of the Palestinian national narrative in Israel's school curricula. Jackson Diehl says Abbas is continuously undermining his own cause through miscalculations. The National says dismantling the PA may be too extreme but when Palestinians are reduced to self-starvation to gain leverage with Israel, something is urgently required to radically alter the status quo.

April 19th

NEWS: In Gaza, hopes for a better life under Hamas rule have turned into frustration and disappointment. Israel says it will be disciplining the soldier who was documented to have struck a Danish pro-Palestinian activist in the face with his rifle. PM Fayyad meets with the assaulted Danish activist. UN officials condemn Israel's eviction of a Palestinian family from their home in occupied East Jerusalem in favor of settlers. Fatah officials blame Hamas for the impasse in national unity negotiations. Journalist turned politician Yair Lapid says he'd be willing to serve in an Israeli coalition cabinet. Israeli settlers are building new outposts on privately-owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. Jewish-American lawmakers are unhappy with a Justice Department ruling regarding the difficulties of prosecuting Palestinians who allegedly killed Americans outside the United States. The US Supreme Court rules that Palestinian-Americans cannot sue the PA and PLO for alleged abuse in custody in the occupied territories. The Grand Mufti of Egypt is making a rare visit to Jerusalem. COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz says the Israeli public is in the grip of a terrifying apathy. Israel Harel says the soldier disciplined for striking the Danish activist is a scapegoat for the failings of the senior command. Ofer Shelah says the assault just shows the extent to which Israel doesn't know what to do with the occupied territories. The Jerusalem Post says Israelis were unrealistic to think that the UK would be harsher on Palestinian activist Raed Salah than Israel, of which he is a citizen. Salah explains why he went to the UK in the first place. Jonathan Rosen says Holocaust analogies and other exaggerations are allowing fear to drive Israeli policies. David Wilensky says Title VI should not be used to squelch free speech on campuses. Michael Young says the shadow of another possible Israel-Hezbollah war looms over southern Lebanon. Michael Jansen says, despite the risks, dissolving the PA could be a dramatic “game changer” between Israel and the Palestinians. Shibley Telhami looks at the Arab and Israeli dimensions of the controversy over Iran's nuclear program.

April 18th

NEWS: Palestinian officials deliver a letter to PM Netanyahu reiterating several points, including the demand for settlement freeze. Neither side expresses much hope negotiations will resume. Deputy FM Ayalon warns of “falling into the trap of a good atmosphere” in international negotiations with Iran. UNIFIL says the continued Israeli occupation of part of a Lebanese village has “political reasons.” Israel tightens restrictions on Palestinian prisoners in retaliation for their mass hunger strike. The Iraqi Kurdish leadership is downgrading its ties to Israel. Israeli settlers and Palestinians clash in Hebron. An Israeli court evicts a Palestinian family from their home in occupied East Jerusalem in favor of settlers. Mitt Romney's ascendancy in the Republican Party is likely to cool its rhetoric on Middle East issues. A major Palestinian film festival is planned for London later this year. COMMENTARY: Hassan Bin Talal says the US shouldn't de-prioritize Middle East foreign policy. Ha'aretz says Netanyahu should stop "hiding behind" Holocaust analogies. Zvi Bar'el says other countries would be entitled to issue travel warnings to Israel given attacks on foreigners by soldiers. Beth Miller explains what it feels like to be a Jew working for human rights in the occupied territories. Sophie Claudet interviews Mustafa Barghouthi. Nahman Shay says Israel badly overreacted to the "flytilla." Shlomo Brom says Israel's 2002 “Operation Defensive Shield” offensive in the occupied Palestinian territories was badly planned and had far-reaching negative political consequences. Benny Morris says Daniel Levy is wrong, and that Arabs are, indeed, “barbarians.” Amira Hass says Israel seems determined to keep the Jordan Valley free of Palestinians.

April 17th

NEWS: DM Barak says that Israel never promised the United States not to attack Iran even while negotiations are being conducted. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel are going on hunger strike. The PA criticizes Pres. Ahmadinejad's visit to the island of Abu Musa, which is disputed territory between the UAE and Iran. Hamas is keeping the results of its politburo reshuffle secret. Palestinians mark “Prisoners Day.” Israel's cabinet is preparing to vote on recognizing three “unauthorized” settlement outposts. Precedent suggests the Israeli soldier who struck a Danish activist in the face with his rifle is unlikely to face any serious consequences. Israel is establishing a special unit to enforce the demolition of Bedouin homes. Bereaved Palestinian physician Izzeldin Abuelaish is pursuing a new life in Toronto working for peace. Occupation forces shoot and injure a farmer in southern Gaza. COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz says Israel's leaders incite public hatred against peace activists. Moshe Arens says Palestinians are not welcome in Jordan. Herb Keinon says Palestinian talk of the letter to Netanyahu is theatrics, not diplomacy. Faysal Hijazeen and Ibrahim Shomali said Palestinian Christians desperately need an end to Israel's occupation. Amos Gilboa says Israeli leftists are trafficking in illusions about peace. Habib Fayad says, in spite of their bitter divorce, Hamas will eventually return to Syria. Daniel Levy says Benny Morris is completely wrong to blame "Palestinian rejectionism" for the lack of peace. Yossi Alpher says Israel's “antiterrorism” military actions in the occupied territories haven't brought it any closer to peace. Ghassan Khatib says most Palestinians believe Israel is content with the status quo and is working to maintain it, without being held to account by the international community. Mohammed Najib says Israel's "Operation Defensive Shield" offensive in the West Bank 10 years ago continues to define the basic realities of life under occupation for Palestinians and remains a source of mistrust between the parties.

April 16th

NEWS: Israel is blocking pro-Palestinian activists from boarding flights bound for Israel. The “flytilla” is gaining attention, but not access to the country. Israel dismisses the protest, pointing to human rights abuses in Syria, Iran and other countries. An Israeli officer is suspended from duty after striking a foreign national in the face with his rifle. Pres. Abbas says Israel is attempting to maintain the status quo, defends security cooperation with Israel, and dismisses the idea of dismantling the PA. IDF chief Gantz says Israel “can handle all its enemies.” US Amb. to Israel Shapiro reiterates his government will veto any further Palestinian UN membership efforts at the Security Council. The PA has moved to ban the sale of Israeli potatoes in areas under its control. A new poll suggests that Jewish Americans, including ardent supporters of Israel, are more suspicious of evangelical Christians than is generally assumed. COMMENTARY: Noah Browning says the Arab uprisings have yet to find a Palestinian equivalent. Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu fears successful negotiations on Iran's nuclear program. Yitzhak Laor says Israel must remember that it has committed atrocities like many other countries. Amira Hass says the Israeli military is persistently evicting Palestinians from their homes. Dan Calic says Israel can and should push the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab states to counter the Palestinian refugee issue. Jeff Barak says Israel has mishandled the “flytilla” from a PR perspective. Barry Rubin takes on three common ideas he calls “myths” about Israel. Musa Keilani says Palestinians should focus on institution-building and diplomacy until there is a new Israeli government that is willing to negotiate seriously. The Forward says arrests of journalists by the PA are disturbing intimidations of the press. Jeffrey Goldberg agrees that Hussein Ibish is not a “Zionist,” but someone pragmatically interested in ending conflict.

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