September 28th

NEWS: Pres. Abbas and PM Netanyahu separately address the UN General Assembly. As expected, Abbas asks for an upgrade of Palestine's status to UN nonmember observer state, but most Palestinians seem unimpressed. Netanyahu's speech is widely derided in Israel. Hamas denounces Abbas' initiative. Israelis conclude Netanyahu speech means there will be no war this year. Iran vows to retaliate if attacked. Israeli troops wound two Palestinians in northern Gaza. Four more Palestinians are killed in northern Syria. Gaza smugglers say their tunnel networks are operating at approximately 10 percent. Hamas officials say Egypt has promised to ease border restrictions in the coming days. Hamas bans fruit imports from Israel into Gaza, claiming the area is “self-sufficient.” The BBC looks at Israel's new campaign on Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world. Hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem say they face an unprecedented financial crisis. COMMENTARY: Yehouda Shenhav says Israel is trying to use Mizrahi Jews as pawns against Palestinian refugees. Saud Abu Ramadan looks at the politics behind the latest Palestinian UN initiative. David Andrew Weinberg analyzes Netanyahu's “meddling” in the US presidential election. Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say the security situation on the Israeli-Egypt border has reached a crisis point. The Economist notes that the government of Pres. Morsy has done almost nothing to help Hamas. Jonathan Marcus says Abbas and Netanyahu's UN speeches show they have other priorities than the peace process. Hugh Naylor says the speeches offer little hope for peace. Mark Perry speculates about what an Israeli attack against Iran might look like.

September 27th

NEWS: Palestinian seem set to ask for upgraded status at the UN as a nonmember observer state. The BBC looks at the implications of nonmember observer state status. FM al-Malki says no date has been set for a UNGA vote on the question. Pres. Abbas meets with Sec. Clinton and EU FP chief Ashton. In contrast to last year, this year's Palestinian UN preparations are distinctly quiet. Sources tell Asharq Al-Awsat that Musa Abu-Marzuq is likely to be elected the next head of Hamas' politburo. Outgoing Hamas politburo chief Meshaal's exit spurs reports about strife within the organization. A spokesman for Pres. Morsy says there is no need to amend the peace treaty with Israel. PM Netanyahu promises a tough response to Pres. Ahmadinejad. Most Israelis don't seem moved by Netanyahu's warnings about Iran, and half say they fear for the state's existence in the case of a war. A Palestinian smuggler dies when a tunnel between Egypt and Gaza collapses. Israeli forces detain two Palestinians who were reportedly attacked by a mob of settlers near Nablus. Israel's High Court rejects a petition by Palestinian students in Gaza to study in the West Bank. Israel is continuing to refuse to cooperate with an investigation into settlement activity by the UNHCR. The fight over campus speech in California hinges on the definition of anti-Semitism, which some want to include broad terms about criticism of Israel. COMMENTARY: ATFP Pres. Ziad Asali previews Abbas' UN speech. Ha'aretz says that in his UN speech Netanyahu should stop making noise about Iran and instead put forward a credible peace plan and begin to repair relations with the US. Yaron Friedman says Israel is sitting on a time bomb in both the West Bank and Gaza. Jonathan Rosen looks at DM Barak's proposals for unilateral action by Israel in the occupied West Bank. Paul Gross asks if Netanyahu and Abbas really are interested in a two-state solution. The National says this year's renewed Palestinian UN bid shows new tactics are needed. George Hishmeh thinks Palestinian UN nonmember observer state status would pose a big quandary for the US.

September 26th

NEWS: Palestinian officials say they are likely to ask the UN for nonmember observer state status, but will push for a vote after the November US elections. This represents a lowering of expectations from last year. Pres. Abbas meets with Jewish Americans, and reiterates Palestinians would resume negotiations if Israel initiated a settlement freeze. Hundreds of protesters in the Gaza Strip call for the overthrow of Hamas following the death of a child in a fire triggered by power outages. Jordan condemns extremist Jewish Israelis for breaking into the yards of the Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. Israel's left-wing Meretz party presents a new peace proposal. Qatar pledges millions in aid for Gaza rebuilding. Six Palestinians are reportedly killed, in a manner that reflects torture and execution, in Aleppo. Israel's official recognition of a settlement university puts its policies under test and scrutiny. A Palestinian citizen of Israel studying at the university says she was thrown off a bus at gunpoint by security officers. A Gaza family blames sewage and lack of sanitation for the loss of eight children in two years. Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren says Israeli-Palestinian peace must not “fall off the map.” The PA minister accused of sexual harassment is reportedly Civil Affairs Minister al-Sheikh, in charge of security coordination with Israel. COMMENTARY: ATFP Pres. Ziad Asali previews Abbas' UN speech. Crispian Balmer says the Palestinians are set for a Pyrrhic victory at the UN. Sefi Rachlevsky says PM Netanyahu is unfit to serve as prime minister. Mark Mardell looks at how Netanyahu has become part of the US election campaign. Osama Al Sharif says Abbas faces a set of unpalatable options. Semih Idiz says unless Israel changes its policies, its efforts to repair relations with Turkey won't work.Aaron David Miller says Netanyahu isn't solely to blame for the impasse on peace or deterioration in relations with the United States. Zvika Krieger looks at what he calls “Fortress Gaza.”

September 25th

NEWS: At the upcoming UN meeting, Pres. Abbas is expected to suggest non-member observer state status for Palestine. Israeli officials, especially DM Barak, are mulling unilateral actions in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian leaders dismiss the ideas, and Israeli right-wingers also express strong opposition. Israeli officials say shells fired by the Syrian military accidentally landed in the occupied Golan Heights, without any reported injuries. More Hamas leaders say Khaled Misha'al has decided to step down as head of the Politburo. The fuel crisis in Gaza is intensifying as smuggling from Egypt is curtailed. The Syrian government denies it shelled a Palestinian refugee camp in Aleppo. Palestinians are becoming both two-time refugees and combatants in the Syrian conflict. A group of Jewish American leaders reportedly cancel a meeting with Abbas after pressure from PM Netanyahu. American Jewish Democrats are openly critical about Netanyahu's attitude towards the United States and Pres. Obama. Pres. Ahmadinejad reportedly says Israel will be “eliminated.” Americans for Peace Now establishes a campus wing. COMMENTARY: Karim Sadjadpour and Blake Hounshell ask what would happen if Israel actually bombed Iran. Patrick Tyler says Israel needs to abandon militarism in favor of negotiations and compromise. David Newman says the lack of a peace process is disastrous. Gershon Baskin says both publics need to know there is an alternative to war between Iran and Israel. Linda Gradstein looks at the complications surrounding ID cards for residents of occupied East Jerusalem. Ken Schechtman says Israel's real friends should be honest with it, not sycophantic. Rajab Abu Sariya says Abbas has another chance to achieve something useful at the UN this year.

September 24th

NEWS: PA Finance Minister Kassis tells a donor meeting that the Palestinian economic crisis is a threat to a two-state solution. The PA says it will sue the transport workers union if it goes on strike. Israel has reportedly taken urgent economic steps to ease the financial pressure on the PA, but Deputy FM Ayalon urges donor states to cut all funding to the PA. DM Barak says Israel should withdraw unilaterally from large parts of the occupied West Bank if peace talks with the Palestinians remain stalled. An obscure militia in the Sinai Peninsula claims a role in recent attacks. The violence in Sinai may force changes to the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. PM Netanyahu apologizes to UNSG Ban for leaking parts of a recent conversation. Israel says it has arrested an extortion ring linked to Hamas. PA security forces uncover a secret Hamas detention center in the West Bank. A Hamas official says Khaled Misha'al will step down as head of its Politburo. A press organization condemns the PA arrest of a journalist. A senior PA minister is reportedly being investigated for sexual harassment. COMMENTARY: David Ignatius interviews Pres. Ahmadinejad about Israeli threats and Iran's nuclear program. Ma'an interviews Vera Baboun, a leading candidate for mayor of Bethlehem. Chaim Levinson says the Israeli military is helping settlers develop armed militias. Ha'aretz says Israelis should listen carefully to what Pres. Morsy has to say about the Sinai Peninsula and the peace treaty. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Hamas Deputy Leader Abu-Marzuq. Lena Odgaard says economic protests in the West Bank are also a political crisis for the Palestinians. The Times of Israel interviews Strategic Affairs Ministry head Kuperwasser. Amira Hass looks at the politics of water in the occupied West Bank.

September 21st

NEWS: One year after failing to secure full UN membership, Palestinians are now considering seeking nonmember observer state status. PM Netanyahu's office claims this is a violation of the Oslo agreements. Egypt says it is working to promote Palestinian reconciliation. Experts are skeptical about Pres. Abbas' reported threat to resign. Palestinian security forces return three Israeli soldiers who strayed into Palestinian-controlled areas of the occupied West Bank. 30 international aid NGOs appeal to the Quartet to stop the ongoing demolition of Palestinian homes. Hamas says Egypt's disruption of tunnel trade is hurting the Gaza economy. Israeli forces kill three extremists in Sinai. Mitt Romney reportedly makes no mention of the peace process in a call with Jewish American leaders. The PLO says over 400 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict in Syria. A committee in the Irish parliament recommends a national ban on Israeli settlement products. COMMENTARY: Aaron David Miller asks how unsustainable the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is. Yezid Sayigh says the Palestinians may renew their UN efforts this year, but show no signs of having better learned how to contain the fallout. David Rosenberg says, given the economic crisis, the PA can't even offer the Palestinians personal prosperity. Yossi Verter says if Netanyahu is reelected, his next term will probably be a repetition of his current term. Eva Illouz says Judith Butler is getting a taste of her own boycott politics. Danny Caravan says the reason Oslo failed is that the occupation persisted. Yoram Drori says because they have full citizenship and a homeland in the state of Israel, there are no Jewish refugees in the Middle East. Uri Savir says Bill Clinton should be the next Middle East envoy if Pres. Obama is reelected. Ben Capsit says Netanyahu had better begin preparing for the day after Obama is reelected. Ghada Karmi says Palestinians need a one-state solution. Zuheir Kseibati says Hamas might be gaining more from aligning with the Muslim Brotherhood than they did with Syria and Iran. Mohammad Salah says Egypt has got to get control over the Sinai Peninsula.

September 20th

NEWS: Hamas accuses Israel of assassinating its officials in charge of tunnel smuggling. Egypt's new intelligence chief reportedly helped broker the release last year of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas.Catholic Church officials express concern about acts of vandalism against Christian sites in Israel and the occupied territories. Hamas is angered as the PA arrests its activists in the West Bank. Fatah officials deny reports Pres. Abbas is considering resigning. The IMF reiterates that the Palestinian economy is “facing serious risks.” A new poll shows most Israelis and Palestinians think any attack on Iran will result in a major war, and support a two-state solution. Israel's attorney general wants to prosecute “illegal” construction in the occupied West Bank. A Palestinian activist held by the PA has ended a hunger strike amid signs of his impending release. Palestinian officials say a UN General Assembly resolution would set the terms for a peace agreement, not contradict it. A new study shows Pres. Obama's middle name affects the way he is perceived by some Israelis.Palestinians are reportedly undecided regarding the timing of any renewed UN bid. COMMENTARY: Xinhua says Palestinian despair is pushing discussion of annulling the Oslo agreements. Ghassan Khatib says despite calm in the occupied West Bank, the PA is on the brink of collapse. Ari Shavit says PM Netanyahu is leading Israel's relations with the United States to the precipice.Ha'aretz says Israeli attitudes before 1993 that preferred the status quo to a peace agreement are returning. Douglas Bloomfield says it appears to be dawning on Netanyahu that Obama is likely to be reelected. Barbara Slavin says the new “fortress Israel” mentality leaves little room for diplomacy. Peter Beinart says the fact that the pro-Israel lobby isn't all powerful doesn't mean it doesn't exist. PLO chief of mission Areikat responds to recently publicized comments by Mitt Romney. Zvika Krieger says there are powerful answers to Romney's negativity about Israeli-Palestinian peace. Michael Desch says Netanyahu has gone too far in challenging the United States on Iran.

September 19th

NEWS: The World Bank says the Palestinian fiscal crisis is intensifying. Various scenarios face Pres. Abbas in the context of the emerging crisis. The Israeli military holds its largest snap drill in many years. The PA criticizes Egypt for hosting a Hamas leader. Like Mitt Romney, many in the Middle East are losing confidence in the prospect of a two-state solution. Abbas says he will deliver a speech at the UN in September asking for nonmember observer state status for Palestine. A Palestinian militant-turned-theater director detained by PA security forces has resumed a hunger strike. Israeli settlements keep expanding despite the evacuation of a tiny “unauthorized” outpost. An advisor to Pres. Morsy says amending the peace treaty with Israel is "only a matter of time.” COMMENTARY: David Sanger says Romney's recent comments could prove problematic if he is elected president. Khaled Diab describes Palestinians and Israelis jointly visiting Israel's Holocaust Memorial. Zvi Bar'el looks at a new Israeli book about Hamas. Eitan Gilboa says Israel would be wise not to interfere in US politics. Chris McGreal says PM Netanyahu has successfully made Iran the only Middle East issue in the United States. Walid Khadduri says energy security is a priority for Israel. Hani al-Masri says restructuring the PLO is the key to Palestinian unity. David Rothkopf says Netanyahu has exposed the fallacy of an all-powerful “Israel Lobby.” Aaron David Miller asks if Romney can be trusted with Middle East policy. Tony Karon says Palestinians are used to unfair attacks such as those in the recently released Romney video.

September 18th

NEWS: The IMF issues a strong warning on the state of the Palestinian economy, saying it poses a "high risk" of continued social unrest in the occupied West Bank.The PA plans to tell donors at an upcoming meeting that the economic status quo is unsustainable. Experts say the stability of the PA is gravely threatened by its ongoing financial crisis. A new Palestinian opinion poll suggests a strong link between economy and security. The New York Times profiles Israeli Amb. Michael Oren. A pro-Hamas bloc wins union elections among UNRWA employees in Gaza. In a recently released surreptitiously filmed video at a fundraiser, Mitt Romney suggests peace is almost impossible to accomplish and this is entirely the fault of the Palestinians. PLO leaders say they are looking at the possibility of canceling the Oslo agreements with Israel, as UN officials say a 2-state solution is becoming more remote. The controversy grows over Islamophobic and anti-Semitic sentiment at California universities. A Gaza-based poet remembers the Sabra and Shatila massacre. IPS profiles Palestinian Paralympians. Palestinians in Ramallah stage a peaceful protest against a controversial anti-Islam online video. Tobias Buck profiles Rawabi, the first ever planned Palestinian city. COMMENTARY: The Washington Post says it would be extremely risky for Palestinians to renew a UN bid. Yossi Verter says PM Netanyahu is perceived as campaigning on behalf of Republicans. Linda Gradstein says US-Israel tensions are exaggerated. Nathan Jeffay asks what Israel would do without the PA and Pres. Abbas. Samuel Berger worries that Romney may be adopting Netanyahu's “dangerous timetable for war.” Daniel Drezner is dismayed by Romney's videotaped comments about Israel and the Palestinians. Hussein Ibish defends his critique of Israel's new campaign on Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world.

September 17th

NEWS: On American TV, PM Netanyahu makes the case for war against Iran. On the Jewish new year, many Israelis express concern about the possibility of war. A Hamas court sentences four Salafist extremists to death over the killing of an Italian activist. An all-female bloc is running in local Palestinian elections. Hamas claims an investigation has discovered that no Palestinians in Gaza were connected to an attack on Egyptian forces in Sinai. An Egyptian soldier is killed in a new clash with extremists in Sinai. Palestinians complain that 30 years after the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon, no one has been brought to justice. Palestinian trade unions are divided over the prospect of a new strike. The EU pledges €100 million for the PA. Former Israeli military intelligence chief Yadlin says the country would need international and American support before any attack against Iran. PM Fayyad posts a protest song calling for his resignation on his own Facebook page. The BBC looks at Jewish Israeli extremists who engage in “price tag” violence. Israelis defend their campaign on Jewish refugees as a way of “counteracting” the Palestinian refugee issue. COMMENTARY: Seth Anziska says American pressure might have prevented the massacre at Sabra and Shatila. Robert Fisk recalls the massacre. Aaron David Miller says the upcoming election won't change US Middle East policy much. Hamas leader Zahhar claims Gaza is "free of occupation" and more secure than the West Bank. Former US Amb. Indyk says he thinks the US may go to war with Iran in 2013. Mya Guarnieri says Israel's mistreatment of migrants doesn't stop at the border. Pierre Klochendler looks at a home in occupied East Jerusalem divided between Palestinians and settlers. Michael Melchior claims a surprisingly wide range of Islamists are ready for peace and coexistence with Israel. Ben Sales looks at the political implications for Israel and the PA of the Palestinian economic crisis.

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