NEWS: A new poll suggests that if Palestinian elections were held today, 42% would vote for Fatah while slightly under 20% would vote for Hamas. Palestinian citizens of Israel still face increasing levels of violence and poverty. A recent Senate Appropriations Committee vote on Palestinian refugees could complicate US policy and funding towards UNRWA. J Street appears to be growing as an alternative to traditional pro-Israel organizations. Israeli officials say they fear Syria Is headed towards becoming a failed state. Israel's internal security force says there was a spike in anti-Israeli or anti-Jewish terrorist attacks or plots last year. Israeli leaders express skepticism about Western diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear program. Two Americans are kidnapped in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. A PA committee determines that the largest Palestinian public sector employee union "has no legal standing." Israeli Interior Minister Yishai says Israeli women are afraid to report rape by African migrants due to a stigma regarding AIDS. A majority of Israeli defense officials are reportedly against any attack against Iran under present circumstances. COMMENTARY: Salman Masalha says the Nakba is very much alive for both Arabs and Jews in Israel. Aaron David Miller says PM Netanyahu is well-positioned to be a great leader of Israel, but he is skeptical. The National says Israel's relationship with Turkey has never recovered from the deadly flotilla incident. Raphael Magarik looks at deep-seated Israeli fears about “infiltrators,” whoever they may be. Moriel Rothman tracks the harsh treatment by Israeli authorities of a Palestinian child in occupied East Jerusalem. Nida Tuma worries that Palestinian moderates are being undermined by the diplomatic impasse and untenable realities on the ground. Elliott Abrams dismisses the idea of a new UN Special Committee on Palestine proposed by Shlomo Ben-Ami, Thomas Schelling, Jerome Segal, and Javier Solana. Victor Kattan says UNRWA “reform efforts” will harm the peace process.

May 30th

NEWS: DM Barak says if negotiations with Palestinians fail, Israel will have to consider unilateral acts in the occupied West Bank and calls for more international action against Pres. Assad. An elaborate tunnel system and economy is the heart of life in Gaza. Israeli offshore natural gas discoveries offer potential windfalls but pose a challenge to its small navy. PM Netanyahu urges Palestinians to return to negotiations. Gaza journalist Asma al-Ghoul wins an international award for courage. Israel will return the bodies of 91 Palestinians buried in an Israeli cemetery. The PA is seeking UN recognition of a threatened West Bank village as a world heritage site. An Israeli MK says human rights activists should be put in prison camps. Israeli judges approve an extremely unusual plea bargain in the case of a Jewish terrorist found responsible for murdering Palestinians. Israeli prosecutors decide not to indict two rabbis who authored a book that provides religious justification for the killing of non-Jews. Palestinians say there has been a sharp increase in home demolitions by Israeli occupation authorities. COMMENTARY: Shlomo Ben-Ami, Thomas Schelling, Jerome Segal and Javier Solana call for the creation of a new UN Special Committee on Palestine. Zvi Bar'el says Iran is signaling a new willingness to engage in the West on its nuclear program. Aeyal Gross says security protection must apply to the Palestinians as well as Israelis. Controversy surrounds an Israeli production of the Merchant of Venice being staged at an international Shakespeare Festival in London. Nathan Guttman says Israeli politicians are increasingly looking for support from American donors. Ilan Baruch says nonviolent protests make sense for Palestinians, but they have to be careful about the counterproductive impact of sweeping boycotts. Rubik Rosenthal says Israel is still fundamentally a European country. Zvika Krieger says some right-wing Israelis think the “Arab Spring” is good for Israel.

May 29th

NEWS: Hamas leaders in Gaza say they will allow the Central Election Committee to begin working in the territory. Turkey indicts four Israeli military officials for the deadly flotilla incident. An Israeli court sentences a Palestinian protest leader to 13 months in jail, counting as time served. Two Israeli police officers are convicted of negligent homicide for allowing a Palestinian to die from injuries on a roadside. Israeli schools are accused of systematically discriminating against Palestinian medical students. Israeli officials believe they may have discovered significant energy reserves immediately offshore. The UN warns against an emerging “one-state” reality between Israel and the Palestinians. Qatar supplies much-needed diesel fuel to Gaza. The UN criticizes Israel over the Gaza blockade. Even after a deal with prisoners, Israel is allegedly still jailing Palestinians in “administrative detention.” The Palestinian national airline has resumed flights after a seven-year hiatus. COMMENTARY: Saliba Sarsar and Hussein Ibish say nonviolent "people power" is needed for peace. Vered Lee says a new book casts grave doubt on the traditional Israeli narrative about “Operation Magic Carpet.” Akiva Eldar says Israel can only blame itself when the next Palestinian intifada erupts. Gershon Baskin says Israelis and Palestinians need to be imaginative about peace. James Klutznick says when Israeli leaders are being irresponsible, Jewish American friends should be critical. Nathan Brown says UNRWA should be supported. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid looks at the Palestinian dimension in the recent Egyptian elections. Boyd Tonkin looks at the issue of a cultural boycott against Israelis.

May 25th

NEWS: Israel upgrades security ties with China. Israel's Supreme Court has ordered the military to reconsider its ban on Gaza students studying in the West Bank. In the context of negotiations with Iran, the US reiterates its commitment to Israel's security. Pres. Abbas says Palestinians in Lebanon should not arm themselves. Palestinians say Israeli settlers from the settlement involved in the controversial shooting incident last weekend have torched large areas of agricultural land near the same Palestinian village they attacked on Saturday. The new State Department human rights country report criticizes Israel's treatment of African migrants. PM Netanyahu condemns attacks on African migrants. Amnesty International says Israel frequently uses excessive force against Palestinians. Peace Now says MKs should be investigated for incitement to violence. A Canadian group is helping people in Gaza build a giant ark. The Senate Appropriations Committee approves language that would attempt to strip most Palestinian refugees of their status and place restrictions on American funding for UNRWA, but State Department intervention forces revision. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says Israel must stop settler violence. Eitan Haber says Israel must prepare itself to live with a nuclear-armed Iran. MK Danny Danon says Israel should expel African migrants. Jay Bushinsky says it's time for DM Barak to resign. Uri Savir says sports can be a means to promote Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. Stephen White and PJ Dermer say by not adequately supporting the training program for Palestinian security forces, the Obama administration missed a crucial chance to promote peace. Oren Kessler says Israelis are watching the Egyptian election results with deep trepidation. Daniel Kurtzer says in order to have a positive impact on political transformations in the Middle East, a second term Obama administration needs to develop a serious strategy on Israeli-Palestinian peace. Michael Sharnoff says Palestinians are likely to increasingly turn to nonviolent protests against the occupation. Lara Friedman says it's mean-spirited, quixotic and bad for peace efforts for some members of Congress to try to redefine who qualifies as a Palestinian refugee.

May 24th

NEWS: Turkey says it may indict senior Israeli military officers regarding the deadly flotilla incident. Israeli peace activists launch an online university. Hamas leader Hanniyeh says the results of the Egyptian election will define the future of the Palestinian cause. PM Netanyahu postpones voting on a Knesset bill that would bypass a Supreme Court order to demolish a large settlement outposts built on privately-owned Palestinian land. Israeli authorities are preparing for more violent confrontations aimed at African migrants. Amnesty International says PA security forces “abuse detainees with impunity”, but also slams Israel for the Gaza blockade and settlement activity. An Israeli court rules that Palestinian towns in northern Israel are being discriminated against by not being given the same tax breaks as adjacent Jewish ones. Pres. Abbas reportedly says he's considering renewed UN initiatives. The Israeli occupation is increasingly the focus of “citizen journalism.” Palestinian fishermen in Gaza are being severely restricted by the Israeli blockade. The Senate Appropriations Committee will vote today on a bill that would redefine how the United States, but not the UN, defines who is a Palestinian refugee. COMMENTARY: Adam Ibrahim, an African migrant in Israel, pleads for decent treatment. Gideon Levy says a settlement goods boycott is fully justified. Tzipi Livni says Israel needs statesmanship, not crass politics. Douglas Bloomfield asks if Hamas and Fatah cannot make peace with each other, how can they make peace with Israel? Samia Hathroubi and Sarah Blum say people must take the lead in building peace. Abraham Rabinovich says Israel's conquest of occupied East Jerusalem was an "unintended consequence" of the 1967 war. Joyce Karam interviews Dennis Ross. Peter Beinart says it's ridiculous for Israelis to call South African demands to label settlement goods “racist.” David Makovsky and Olivia Holt-Ivry say Israeli military decisions regarding Iran will be made by politicians, not officers.

May 23rd

NEWS: Hamas is moving forward with teaching Hebrew to Gaza schoolchildren. Pro-Hamas students face serious difficulties completing their education in the West Bank. The EU expresses “concern” over the arrest of a leader of Palestinian nonviolent protests. The rebirth of Palestine's national air carrier is part of a move towards state sovereignty. The PA says Israel has violated an Egyptian-brokered prisoner exchange agreement. South Africa demands Israeli settlement produced goods be clearly labeled as distinct from those from Israel. Armed settlers attacked a village near Nablus while Israeli soldiers apparently do nothing to prevent the use of live ammunition. A new study shows 70% of Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem exist below the poverty line. The Knesset is moving forward with a bill to retroactively “legalize” unauthorized settlements. Palestinian writer Salameh Kaileh describes Syria as a “slaughterhouse.” COMMENTARY: Thomas Friedman says now is the time for constructive unilateralism on Israel's part. Amira Hass says Israel is encouraging Hamas ruling Gaza because it wants to detach it from the West Bank. Denis MacShane says Israel cannot be compared to apartheid South Africa. Ray Hanania says Israel's withholding of Palestinian tax revenues is a serious threat to calm and stability. Leonard Fein says for many young Jewish Americans, Israel is nothing but a headache. Peter Beinart says Palestinians and Israelis have in fact been negotiating, even though everybody thinks they have not been. Elliott Abrams says the Hamas-Fatah agreement for national elections might displace PM Fayyad but not produce elections or any lasting national reunification. Yossi Beilin says it's hard to know at this point how much of a hard liner PM Netanyahu really is. Mahdi Abdul Hadi says Israel has retreated into a bunker mentality government. Hussein Ibish recounts his debate with Reza Aslan at UCLA and emphasizes the importance of human agency and choices in determining the path of the future.

May 22nd

NEWS: An Israeli human rights group says armed settlers opened fire on Palestinian villagers in the full view of Israeli soldiers who did nothing to stop the attacks, as depicted clearly in video footage. PM Netanyahu again insists that Iran is determined to “destroy” Israel. The PA says Israel has already violated the prisoners' agreement brokered by Egypt. Israeli physicians describe African migrants as “a ticking illness bomb.” Israeli settlement expansion in Jerusalem is proceeding without respite. PM Fayyad says Israel's control of water resources in the occupied West Bank is the cause of a Palestinian water crisis. PM Netanyahu says it would be a “fatal mistake” to compromise over control of holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem. The Austrian FM criticizes his own DM for blunt statements about Israeli FM Lieberman. The Knesset passes a bill granting tax exemptions to donations to settlement activities. Rep. Howard Berman is making a surge in fundraising in his tightly-contested reelection campaign in California. An American Jewish Committee official decries both pro-Israeli right wing and pro-Palestinian left-wing one-state advocacy. Palestinian paralympians visit the al-Aqsa Mosque before the competition. European leaders are increasingly considering a settlements goods boycott. Released Palestinian prisoners struggle to make a new life in Gaza. COMMENTARY: ATFP expresses alarm at footage showing armed settlers opening fire on Palestinian villagers in the full view of Israeli soldiers. Gershon Baskin says it would not be that hard for Netanyahu and Pres. Abbas to reach a peace agreement if it were simultaneously their national priorities. Michael Kagan says Hussein Ibish is wrong that the search for creative alternatives to a two-state solution in finding a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is quixotic.Kathleen Peratis says that, under present circumstances, peace efforts are concentrated on finding any formula that is “good enough” to avoid disaster. Jonathan Schanzer says a new bill in Congress might completely revise the American, if not UN, definition of who constitutes a Palestinian refugee. David Shulman says Israel is pursuing “suicidal” policies because it is driven by irrational fear. Robert Wright says the recent scandal involving armed settlers shooting at Palestinian villagers in the full view of Israeli soldiers demonstrates exactly what the role of occupation forces in the Palestinian territories really is.

May 21st

NEWS: Hamas and Fatah agree to hold elections as a prelude to national reunification. An Israeli human rights group has released video of Israeli settlers shooting rubber bullets at unarmed Palestinians while Israeli soldiers stand by impassively. An Israeli military occupation court convicts a leader of Palestinian protest movements. Israeli officials react with outrage at demands by South Africa and other states that settlement goods be clearly labeled as distinct from those produced in Israel itself. Palestinians and right-wing Israelis clash in occupied East Jerusalem. The settlement outposts issue is the most immediate test of the new Israeli coalition. A verdict will be reached in August on the Rachel Corrie civil liability case. Haifa University's faculty demands the return of Arabic to the school's logo. PM Netanyahu warns that Israel could be “overrun” by African migrant “infiltrators.” The family of a Hamas operative assassinated in Dubai is trying to block an Israeli film about the murder. Austria's defense minister describes FM Lieberman as “unbearable.” Former Israeli PM Olmert says Jerusalem must be partitioned for peace. COMMENTARY: Ilan Bloch looks at the complexities of partitioning or sharing Jerusalem from a Jewish Israeli point of view. Liat Collins says the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike reveals many complexities on all sides. Nicola Nasser says Palestinians, and everyone else, should recognize that the traditional peace process is a sham. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid says Israel has finally decided that the fall of the Assad regime in Syria is in its interests. Emily Hauser says it's vital that Israelis and Palestinians get to know each other. Yossi Alpher says it's too early to tell if a new Israeli coalition will have any effect on Middle East peacemaking. Ghassan Khatib says the new Israeli government augurs little change for Palestinians. Walter Pincus asks why the United States would be funneling several packages of large amounts of new defense spending to Israel at a time of American budget crisis.

May 18th

NEWS: Palestinians say Interpol is refusing to cooperate in the investigation into a former aide to the late Pres. Arafat who is suspected of massive corruption. In a move likely to make municipal elections come sooner rather than later, Pres. Abbas issues a decree amending the election law. Leaders of Fatah and Hamas will reportedly meet in Cairo next week. Palestinians increasingly view settlements as an impossible impediment to the creation of an independent state. Israeli NGOs accuse Israeli police of severely abusing Palestinian prisoners. Northern Cyprus warns Israel against violations of its airspace. Israel says the international Olympic Committee's rejection of a request for a moment's silence for athletes killed in 1972 is “unacceptable.” An Israeli hospital bans people from speaking in Arabic. Plans are being made for the first joint industrial park on the Israeli-Jordanian border. Following the deal between Israel and prisoners resulting from a collective hunger strike, Palestinians are being increasingly drawn to nonviolent tactics. COMMENTARY: The CSM interviews Michael Sfard, an Israeli lawyer fighting settlement expansion. David Landau says the pro-Israel right wing wants to maintain the status quo, including the occupation. Jay Bushinski says it's “unthinkable” that some Jewish Israelis and state-funded institutions commemorated Nakba Day. The Media Line interviews Israeli photojournalist David Rubinger. Aaron David Miller says the peace process may seem dead, but it will come back to life eventually. Shmuel Rosner says the new Israeli coalition government probably won't pursue more constructive policies towards the Palestinians. Noam Sheizaf says ordinary Israelis feel no pressure to end the status quo and the occupation, but Ron Pundak says boycotts and threats to cut off contact will backfire on Palestinians and their allies. Ahmed Majdoubeh says neither Israelis nor Palestinians really have an independent state. Hussein Ibish says “creative alternatives” to negotiations and a two-state solution are invariably implausible and usually barely conceal maximalist ambitions.

May 17th

NEWS: PM Fayyad reshuffles the PA cabinet. US Amb. to Israel Shapiro says the US is prepared to attack Iranian nuclear facilities if it decides to, although it prefers to continue negotiations. Questions begin to emerge about how much effect Israel's new coalition will have on moving its policies towards the political center. In spite of the agreement between Israel and Palestinian prisoners, seven still remain on hunger strike. Occupation forces arrest a Palestinian TV producer and confiscate his equipment. Seven Palestinians are injured by Israeli artillery fire in Gaza. The PA says it will hold municipal elections in the West Bank even without the cooperation of Hamas in Gaza. The Israeli military demolishes two small “unauthorized” settlement outposts. The Independent profiles the plight of Palestinian villagers in a border area designated as a military zone by Israel. According to an annual BBC poll, Israel's negative international image continues to decline, outstripped only by Iran and Pakistan, and coming in jointly third with North Korea. COMMENTARY: Ari Shavit says Palestinians must recognize the Jewish narrative and grand catastrophe in order for Israelis to reciprocate. Ha'aretz says Israel must change its attitude towards Palestinian prisoners. Roni Schocken says Israel's “Nakba Law” is an attack on human rights. Jonathan Rosen says that over time the question of Palestinian refugee return has become more an abstract principle than a specified demand. Jessica Montell says Israel must find a new way of dealing with Palestinian “administrative detainees.” Bernard Avishai says that by insisting on a distinction between Jewish nationality and Israeli citizenship, Israel has yet to fully recognize itself. Jamal Muqbel says peace seems farther off than ever. Amr Ezzat recounts his experiences attending a recent literary festival in Gaza. Aaron David Miller says Israel's plummeting international image isn't primarily due to a campaign of delegitimization, but its own policies and actions. Hussein Ibish asks if the new Israeli coalition government is really going to break from the hard-line positions, especially on settlement outposts, of the previous one.

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