NEWS: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's trip to Israel raises funds and many questions given his controversial remarks. Romney's trip provokes controversy in Washington and Ramallah. Israelis express concern that their country is becoming a partisan issue in US politics. The White House reiterates that the status of Jerusalem will be determined through negotiations. China also criticizes remarks by Romney. DM Barak downplays the risk of Syrian chemical weapons and praises Pres. Obama's support for Israel's security. Sources say Hamas leader Misha'al is likely to remain head of the Politburo. PM Fayyad holds Israel responsible for the shooting of a Palestinian man at an Israeli checkpoint. Knesset Speaker Rivlin says he doesn't want to draft Palestinian citizens of Israel into the military. An MK says PM Netanyahu must “unmask” Israeli espionage in the United States. Israeli government spending on settlements has increased 38% under Netanyahu. COMMENTARY: The New York Times is critical of Romney's performance in Israel, while the Jerusalem Post praises it. Hussein Ibish says Romney's talk of "culture" and “providence” as Palestinian economic determinants are at odds with last week's World Bank report which primarily blames the occupation. Bernard Avishai gives Romney some basic facts on the Palestinian economy. Ben Sales says Romney's Israel remarks illustrate the fading of the Palestinian issue and David Hazony says it shows Israel's rising power. The Daily Star says Romney is "selling his soul" for campaign funds. Akiva Eldar says the Israeli state's reluctance to enforce a court-ordered eviction of settlers is part of a long pattern. Yaakov Katz says Israel is hoping to achieve something tangible from Sec. Panetta's visit this week. Gershon Baskin says Israelis are living in denial about the conflict and the occupation. Shawan Jabarin says increasing authoritarianism from the PA weakens resistance to Israel.

July 30th

NEWS: The emergent Palestinian IT sector in the occupied West Bank evades Israeli restrictions on physical movement. Sec. Panetta says he does not believe Israel has made a decision regarding what to do about Iran. Mitt Romney courts donors and raises cash in Israel, declares Jerusalem to be Israel's capital, and says differences with the United States embolden the enemies of both countries. PM Fayyad meets with Romney. A Palestinian man is killed at an Israeli checkpoint. Pres. Abbas says he's confident Palestinians can gain further recognition at the UN. Israel plans to deploy new rocket interceptors in 2013. A member of the committee looking into the question says trying to determine the cause of death of the late Pres. Arafat is “like looking for a needle in the ocean.” Palestinians say Israeli settlers are draining West Bank water supplies. The EU is pressuring Israel to change its policies towards “Area C,” and complains about wide-ranging human rights violations. The US has reportedly presented Israel with a contingency plan for a strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Another mysterious incident raises the question of Israeli espionage in the United States. Former Obama aide Dennis Ross reportedly will not be campaigning for the president's reelection. COMMENTARY: Israel Hayom interviews Romney. Barak Ravid says PM Netanyahu has embraced Romney as no Israeli prime minister has ever embraced the US candidate before. Gershom Gorenberg says Romney didn't really have much to gain by visiting Israel. Herb Keinon says Israel has become a backdrop set for US presidential politics. Jan Schakowski asks what exactly Romney is proposing that would be so different from what Pres. Obama has done with regard to Israel, and Abraham Katzman suggests some examples. Uri Avnery says Israelis are avoiding looking at the contradictions of their own ideology and politics. The Independent publishes extracts from Raja Shehadeh's new book “Occupation Diaries.”

July 27th

NEWS: Israel's Supreme Court delays by three weeks the court-ordered evacuation of an “unauthorized” settlement outpost. Palestinian refugees in Syria are being sucked into the conflict there, as most factions retain a presence in that country. The PA Finance Minister says its fiscal crisis is growing more acute. Pres. Morsy meets Hamas leader Hanniyeh in Cairo. US counterterrorism chief Brennan is visiting Israel. Hamas claims that the Arab uprisings have not spread to the West Bank because of Israel. A PA investigation into violence against protesters in Ramallah says police chiefs should be questioned about the incident. Pres. Obama authorizes expanded military cooperation with Israel. Israel bans 5 Palestinian woman from Gaza from studying in the West Bank. An advisor to Pres. Abbas visits Auschwitz. Gaza Christians and Hamas are at odds over purported forced conversions to Islam. Some Palestinian protests are focusing on Abbas, not Israel. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says both Israelis and Palestinians are avoiding their urgent national debates. Ha'aretz interviews Mitt Romney. Hirsh Goodman says Israeli society is now divided between unilateralists and annexationists, neither of whom have a workable long-term vision. Jay Bushinski says it's only the occupation that's keeping the Israeli right in power. Rachel Cohen compares her very different trips to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories under the Birthright program and J Street U. Michael Sharnoff interviews Mohammed Dajani. Lara Friedman responds to Dani Dayan's recent New York Times commentary. A new book outlines the bureaucracy of Israel's occupation. CNN interviews a survivor of the attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The Economist asks what would happen to Hebron in a two-state solution.

July 26th

NEWS: UN officials express concern about the PA financial crisis and the economy in Gaza. The World Bank says the Palestinian economy is unsustainable given Israeli restrictions and a combination of reliance on foreign aid and reduced international assistance. A PA official says the economy is unlikely to be fixed this year. Gaza Christians say they fear for the future of their small community. Israeli and foreign tourists are gathering in the occupied Golan Heights to watch fighting across the border in Syria. Iran accuses Israel itself of being behind the terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. Hamas denounces PA plans for municipal elections in the West Bank. Pres. Abbas says Palestinians and the Arab League will decide on September 6 what, if anything, they will do at the UN. The PA says it has finished restoring Gaza's only power plant. Israel's Interior Ministry says there are now more than 350,000 Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, but Peace Now says the figures are inflated. PM Fayyad is reportedly suing a Fatah parliamentarian for defamation. A joint Israeli-Palestinian concert scheduled for the Mount of Olives is canceled because some Palestinians claimed it would have been an act of “normalization.” The world Jewish population is enjoying an unexpected revival, according to the Economist. Forces loyal to Syrian Pres. Assad bomb a hospital in Damascus' Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp. COMMENTARY: Donald McIntyre interviews Fayyad. Settler leader Dani Dayan says the international community should abandon the two-state solution, without clearly specifying any alternative. Aluf Benn says DM Barak is the only Israeli leader who could challenge PM Netanyahu. Douglas Bloomfield says Dennis Ross has a 12 point plan to improve conditions for peace. The Forward says it's irrelevant that Mitt Romney is visiting Israel while Pres. Obama has not done so during his term of office. Oren Kessler says Romney is trying to poach votes from Obama by going to Israel. Jonathan Schanzer says Hamas is growing in regional strength as the PA suffers under a financial crisis. Aaron David Miller says if Obama is reelected, there will be a very tense relationship with Netanyahu.

July 25th

NEWS: Hundreds of Palestinians are facing eviction to make way for an Israeli firing range in the occupied West Bank, and PM Fayyad urges EU leaders to intervene. PLO officials say upgrading Palestine's status at the UN to that of nonmember observer state doesn't contradict a two-state solution, but Pres. Abbas may have agreed to delay any such effort until after the US presidential elections. Hamas leaders are asking Egypt to open the crossing with Gaza. Because of Israel's blockade, books have become a rare commodity in Gaza. A bomb is detonated near Israeli soldiers on the Gaza border without any reported injuries. Palestinian families are fleeing Syria to escape the fighting. A Palestinian-American woman was among the shooting victims in Colorado. A PA investigation concludes that violence against protesters last month was unjustified. GOP candidate Romney condemns Pres. Obama for “lecturing” Israeli leaders. A Jerusalem family is keeping up the tradition of firing a cannon to signal the end of fasting during Ramadan. COMMENTARY: Ruth Marcus says Israel's approach to African migrants is a moral failure. Brandon Davis looks at a new documentary about the life of the late Pres. Arafat. Carlo Strenger says Israel's right is likely to stay in power. Michael Sfard says Israel's crackdown on OCHA is part of a larger assault on democracy. Ben Caspit asks what if PM Rabin had lived. Eli Avidar says Israel stands to gain from the downfall of Pres. Assad. Tom Phillips lists 10 reasons why there hasn't been Israeli-Palestinian peace. The Jewish Week interviews Alan Baker, a member of the Levy Committee.

July 24th

NEWS: A Palestinian prisoner in Israeli detention ends a hunger strike claimed to have lasted for 103 days. Israeli police are looking into whether settlers used forged land documents in an effort to prevent their court-ordered eviction. Israeli field commanders are reportedly undergoing training in international law. The UN expresses grave concern over the fate of Palestinian refugees in Syria. PLO official Ashrawi urges the EU to reconsider upgrading its relations with Israel. Egypt's ambassador to the PA says entry regulations for Palestinians to his country have not changed. PA and Hamas officials will reportedly meet in Cairo to explore ways of alleviating the Gaza fuel crisis. Israel's municipal authorities in Jerusalem have asked the military to take responsibility for Palestinians living east of the separation barrier. FM Lieberman says any transfer of weapons of mass destruction from Syria to Hezbollah would be grounds for war. Gangs in southern Sinai are reportedly smuggling stolen fuel into Gaza and Israel. COMMENTARY: Budour Hassan says Palestinians are not neutral in the Syrian uprising. David Harris says Israel can't afford a Romney presidency. Yossi Verter says the real reason Kadima leader Mofaz left the Netanyahu coalition is fear that it is preparing a war with Iran. Orly Azoulay says PM Netanyahu is “playing with fire” by counting on a Romney victory in the US presidential election. Gershon Baskin says the Israeli right, including Netanyahu, are pretending the Palestinian problem has disappeared. Tal Harris says official Israeli government recognition of the university in the Ariel settlement undermines prospects for a two-state solution, and Ron Mandelbaum says it fails both in terms of due process and substance. The National says Egypt's unofficial easing of visa restrictions for Palestinians might be limited to the seven people who already reportedly took advantage of the procedure. Elisheva Goldberg and Hannah Gross say New York's MTA is using a double standard regarding Middle East-related ads.

July 23rd

NEWS: Efforts by PM Netanyahu to fracture the opposition Kadima party appear to have failed. Egypt is now reportedly allowing Palestinians to enter the country without advance permits, but Egyptian airport officials say they've received no such instructions. The Arab League endorses Palestinian plans to renew recognition efforts at the UN but does not set a date. Palestinian filmmakers try to depict life under occupation. Israel is concerned that Syrian nerve gas or rockets may end up in the hands of Hezbollah. A second group of Gaza families is allowed to visit relatives in Israeli jails. Israeli settlers reportedly seize large tracts of land, and Israel orders the demolition of eight Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank. Hamas leaders vow not to try to separate Gaza from the West Bank. Sacha Baron Cohen settles a slander suit with a Palestinian grocer he had depicted as a terrorist in “Bruno.” The PA fiscal crisis appears to be boosting support for Hamas. The EU is planning to upgrade its relations with Israel. In a “goodwill gesture” Israel transfers an advance to the PA on its tax revenues.COMMENTARY:Jodi Rudoren writes about attending a film festival in Jerusalem. Amira Hass recounts details of a raid on a Palestinian home by Israeli soldiers. Khaled Diab recalls Egyptian-Israeli relations immediately following the 1952 coup. Jeff Barak says Netanyahu has damaged his reelection prospects. Leonard Fein says the Levy Committee report threatens Israel's legitimacy. Michael Felsen says a recent short story about the dynamics at the checkpoint examines the common humanity of Israelis and Palestinians. Nathan Brown says Egypt isn't going to change its policies towards Israel and Palestine now, but eventually probably will. Jillian Kestler-D'Amours says Israel is literally walling itself in on all sides. Shaul Arieli says in expanding its occupation, Israel is ignoring the simple mathematics of demographics.

July 20th

NEWS: The potential downfall of the Syrian regime is making Israel rethink its regional strategies. The PA expresses concern about Palestinians caught up in violence in Syria. Israel is concerned about Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons. Romney's visit to Israel is overshadowed by unrest in Syria. Israel releases a senior Hamas politician. Hamas says Pres. Morsy has promised to help lift the blockade of Gaza. Fatah says reconciliation talks with Hamas are on hold until the Palestinian election commission is allowed to resume work in Gaza. Israel says it will seek retribution “near and far” for the Bulgaria terrorist attack, which it blames on Iran. Experts say this is more likely to be in the form of covert action. Thousands of Palestinians are going to Jerusalem to pray on the first day of Ramadan. The American Jewish Committee breaks with mainstream Jewish consensus by siding with some key findings of the Levy Committee Report. Israeli settlers use summer camps to teach Jewish Israeli children to become settlers. Palestinian athletes are preparing to participate in the upcoming Olympics. Palestinian officials deny that American officials threatened a broad cutoff of aid if Palestinians resume efforts for greater recognition at the UN. COMMENTARY: Adam Gonn says PM Netanyahu is unfazed by the collapse of his super-coalition. Amos Harel says Israel is sure of Iranian responsibility for the Bulgaria attack. Carlo Strenger says “Zionism 2012” no longer believes in democracy, Jewish majorities or any of the ideas of old-fashioned Zionism. Rina Bassit says Israel is increasingly concerned about terrorism emanating from Africa. Nir Baram says the Israeli left needs to be much more straightforward about what's wrong with the occupation. Hannah Weisfeld says if the Levy Committee Report's findings are accepted by the Israeli government, the settlers will be short-term winners but Israel will be a long-term loser.

July 19th

NEWS: PM Netanyahu appears secure in his position, despite the breakup of his larger cabinet. DM Barak says Israel will stop Syrian refugees at the border. Iranian state television calls charges that the country was involved in an attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria “ridiculous.” A former Israeli intelligence official says the attack was probably a delayed reaction to the assassination of Hezbollah's military commander. Israeli officials claim the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. Israel announces plans to revive the Jordan River. Pres. Morsy meets with Hamas leader Misha'al. Israel is seeking closer ties with the Dominican Republic. Jordan's King says the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the defining issue in the Middle East. Israeli soldiers confiscate water storage tanks from Bedouins in the Jordan Valley. COMMENTARY: Ma'an interviews Nurit Peled-ElHanan about the depiction of Palestinians in Israeli schoolbooks. Douglas Bloomfield says Israel is facing choices that will affect its relationship with the United States and Jewish Americans. The Media Line interviews Ari Fleischer about the upcoming American presidential election, Israel and Jewish Americans. J.J. Goldberg says Israel can't ignore international opinion about the occupation. Moshe Dann argues that convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard should be released. George Hishmeh asks if Pres. Obama is re-elected, will he do something about Israel's settlements. Matthew Levitt asks if Hezbollah was responsible for the attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. Raja Shehadeh talks about what it's like to be a Palestinian visiting Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem. The New Statesman says now is not the time to give up on a two-state solution. Benny Elon and Yossi Beilin say the Jewish right and left should work together for peace.

July 18th

NEWS: Israel's governing coalition breaks up over the issue of military service. FM Lieberman predicts early elections. Israel recognizes a college in a West Bank settlement as the first officially recognized Israeli “university” in the occupied Palestinian territories. Hamas takes over UN summer camps for children in Gaza after agencies run out of money. Israeli police arrest a suspect for writing threatening graffiti at the home of Peace Now's Settlement Watch Director. The Arab League says it will create a committee to investigate the death of the late Pres. Arafat. The VOA looks at the controversy about claims Arafat was poisoned. The PA expresses outrage over remarks by Israel's attorney general that the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem is integral to Israeli territory. Pres. Abbas meets Pres. Morsy. Palestinians at a refugee camp near Damascus are sheltering 2,000 displaced Syrians. Israel's high court will hear a petition regarding the death of a Palestinian woman at a West Bank protest. The Israeli government says it's not going to oppose a petition by settlers to remain in an area ordered evacuated by the Israeli High Court. An extremist Israeli MK publicly tears up a copy of the New Testament. COMMENTARY: Former Israeli ambassador to South Africa Liel supports a settlement goods boycott. Amira Hass says Israeli human rights activists face an anti-Semitism that goes unidentified and unpunished. Salman Masalha says the debate about rights and responsibilities in Israel is doing an injustice to the Druze community. Gil Hoffman says Kadima faces a tough future outside the Netanyahu coalition, but Akiva Eldar says Netanyahu also faces more difficulties. Yossi Beilin agrees that PM Netanyahu can be defeated. Ian Black says the Arab uprisings, especially in Syria, are threatening old Israeli certainties. Peter Beinart says the root cause of the widely perceived failure of the Obama administration on Middle East peace is an unwillingness to pressure Israel. Marilyn Katz says settlements threaten Middle East peace.

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