November 26th

NEWS: DM Barak says he may retire from public life, and that the Netanyahu government should have done more to advance peace with the Palestinians. The New York Times profiles a cactus grower in Gaza. Parties differ over the status of talks on the details of the Hamas-Israel cease-fire. Both sides seem to have hardened their positions as a result of the conflict. The head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad praises Iran. The Gaza cease-fire raises hopes for more reconstruction efforts, as recent Israeli airstrikes are estimated to have cost at least $300 million in damage. Hezbollah claims to have rockets that can strike anywhere in Israel in the event of a future conflict, as Israel says it has successfully tested a new missile defense system. In yet another reversal on the question, Hamas leader Meshaal says he supports Pres. Abbas' UN bid, and says he is finally going to visit Gaza next week. Palestinians are being increasingly drawn into both sides of the Syrian conflict. The UK urges the US to refocus on the peace process. Fatah leaders say they will hold a conference in 2013 to "reboot" the party. Abbas heads to New York as the PLO insists that opposition to its upcoming UN initiative will only signal armed struggle is more effective than diplomacy. Members of Congress reiterate they may punish the Palestinians for the UN initiative. The BBC looks at the death of a child in the Gaza conflict. COMMENTARY: Jackson Diehl says a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas is better than periodic conflicts. Natan Sachs offers Pres. Obama advice on how to win the trust of Israelis. Barry Rubin criticizes Egypt's performance as a mediator. Jonathan Freedland says Israel and Palestine's leaders and friends have both failed them. Nathan Jeffay says Israel learned important lessons from the last Gaza war. The Forward says the Gaza conflict proves the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is untenable. The National argues it's important for the PA to fully investigate the death of the late Pres. Arafat. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Hamas leader al-Zahar. Raghida Dergham says Palestinians have to choose between the Hamas and PLO approaches, and the West and Israel hold the keys to that decision. Abdullah Al Shayji says the conflict shows that Israel needs to stop relying on constant wars and become a normal country. Gareth Evans says Israel should treat the new PLO UN initiative as an opportunity, not a challenge. Danny Rubinstein says Egypt is understandably reluctant to open the crossings with Gaza. Mohammed Yaghi says Hamas' confrontation with Israel was half-victory, half-defeat. Meir Javedanfar says Iran was not a central feature of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Daniel Levy says there are seven important lessons to be learned from the Gaza conflict. Peter Beinart looks at the risks attached to the PLO's new UN initiative.

November 21st

NOTE: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, ATFP's World News Round-Up will resume service on Monday, Nov. 26. NEWS: Several Israelis are wounded in a bus bombing in Tel Aviv. Gaza continues to come under heavy Israeli bombardment. The US steps up efforts to help mediate a cease-fire, which is proving elusive. Haaretz details its account of Tuesday's negotiations. UNSG Ban calls for an end to the violence. Israeli airstrikes kill three Palestinian journalists, and attack international media centers. The conflict may be returning the Palestinian issue to center stage in the Middle East. Palestinian mourners clash with Israeli forces during several protests in the occupied West Bank. The PA appears sidelined by the conflict. PM Erdogan accuses Israel of "ethnic cleansing." A major challenge facing Hamas in a truce would be convincing or coercing smaller groups to cooperate. A 15-year-old Egyptian cyber activist helps Gaza residents prepare for a possible Internet shutdown. COMMENTARY: Israeli Amb. Oren explains his country's policies towards Gaza as self-defense but Seumas Milne says Palestinians are the ones who have a right to defend themselves. David Makovsky says Egypt has a crucial role to play in forging a truce. Lara Friedman highlights the American role. David Ignatius says conflict is only inevitable if peace is ignored. The Washington Post says the conflict highlights the importance of American engagement. Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say neither Israel nor Hamas think a truce would last indefinitely. Nahum Barnea says although Israel has achieved its goal, its government is looking to convey a sense of "victory." Leonard Fein says Israel and the Palestinians seem trapped in an endless cycle of violence. Tariq Alhomayed says the conflict has restored Khalid Mishal's role as Hamas' leader and regional figure. Rami Khouri says if it's just a temporary fix, a cease-fire will be futile. Alsir Sidahmed says Israel's goals in the operation go far beyond Gaza. Bassem Sabry says Egypt is trying to forge a new role for itself through the cease-fire negotiations. Brent Sasley says Israel has an interest in Palestinian national reconciliation. Hussein Ibish, looking mainly at Israeli examples, says demonization doesn't justify violence, and David Pollock looks at similar coverage in Palestinian media.

November 20th

NEWS: Six more Palestinians are killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza, bringing the Palestinian death toll to at least 131. Sec. Clinton is visiting the Middle East to try to help defuse tensions. The Gaza crisis is increasingly seen as strengthening Hamas at the expense of the PA. Egypt is trying to balance mediating between the two sides and blaming Israel. Palestinians bury three generations of the Dalu family killed in an Israeli bombing attack. Egypt says it believes the conflict may end on Thursday. Israel has been planning its current offensive for many years. Militants in Gaza kill six alleged collaborators with Israel. Israeli forces in Hebron kill a 22-year-old Palestinian protester. An Arab League delegation arrives in Gaza. PM Netanyahu says he prefers "a diplomatic solution" to the conflict.Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel are deeply divided on the current conflict. Israeli strategic thinkers admit they have no solution to long-term security concerns about Gaza. Amira Hass profiles some of the Gaza residents killed in Israeli attacks. Israel's Knesset speaker says the conflict might delay upcoming elections. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish explains how an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire would benefit almost all parties, except the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, which he says looks "lost." Jonathan Spyer says Hamas has overplayed its hand. The New York Times says all parties share blame, but Hamas is primarily responsible. Roger Cohen says, like it or not, Israel and the US must deal with Hamas. Richard Cohen says Hamas is putting everyone in Gaza at risk. Eugene Robinson says a Israeli-Palestinian peace process might be difficult, but any alternative is much worse. Ari Shavit says Israel has already achieved most of its goals and should secure them with a cease-fire. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish says Israelis and Palestinians have to talk to each other to achieve peace. Harry Enten looks at American polling on the conflict. The Jerusalem Post says toppling Hamas rule in Gaza isn't, and shouldn't, be a goal. The National says Israel's policies boil down to endless wars. The Daily Star says Palestinians can't achieve anything without national unity. Shlomi Eldar says the conflict and the assassination of its military commander may radicalize Hamas. Steven Cook says the conflict shows Palestine remains the Middle East's central problem. Aaron David Miller says Hamas will probably be the political beneficiary no matter what happens on the ground. Hanin Ghaddar asks how Arab "leftists" can possibly support a reactionary religious right-wing movement like Hamas.

NEWS: Gaza-Israel violence continues in spite of cease-fire efforts ongoing in Cairo. Hamas is reportedly trying to link a truce to the end of the blockade of Gaza, trying to leverage the growing clout of regional Islamists. An Israeli attack on an apartment building in Gaza kills 11 Palestinian civilians, with the Palestinian death toll now exceeding 91, mostly civilians, including many children. Longer-range missiles, which Israel insists are from Iran but Tehran denies supplying, give Gaza militants a deeper reach into Israel. Israel attacks a media center in Gaza, injuring six journalists. Pres. Abbas says Israel is trying to undermine a renewed Palestinian UN bid. Residents of southern Israel say they are frightened but determined. Gaza children are trying to cope with the terrors of war. Pres. Obama reiterates Israel's right to self-defense, but recommends against any ground offensive. Israeli government websites are under a massive hacking attack. Gaza doctors say they are running low on medicine and equipment. Palestinians blame settlers for a fire at a West Bank mosque. COMMENTARY: ATFP calls for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza militants. Yossi Alpher says the Israel-Palestine conflict simply isn't going to go away. Max Fisher says Israel is trying to use social media to support for its Gaza campaign. The LA Times says the two-state solution is still the only answer for Israel and the Palestinians. Amos Harel says Israel's leaders need to think very carefully before launching a ground campaign in Gaza, but the Jerusalem Post thinks it's a good idea. Aluf Benn says PM Netanyahu will take any credit and give DM Barak any blame for the conflict. Shaul Arieli says Abbas wants peace, not the right of return. Nehemia Shtrasler says the current Israeli government is comfortable dealing with Hamas, but not with the PA. Musa Abumarzuq defends Hamas' actions. Sam Bahour says the Israeli-Palestinian relationship is unsustainable. Leonard Fein says Abbas lacks a peace partner in Israel. The National says de-escalation requires US leadership. Dalia Hatuqa says Hamas is trying to use the conflict with Israel as an exit strategy from a sustained crisis. Hugh Naylor says pragmatists are losing out in the leadership struggle within Hamas. Tariq Alhomayed says the people of Gaza, as always, will pay the price for the conflict. The Daily Star calls Israel's actions "rampant butchery."Jonathan Schanzer says there are eight outstanding questions about the conflict that have to be answered. Nahum Barnea says it would be politically catastrophic for Netanyahu for Israeli soldiers to be killed on the battlefield in Gaza. Reuters says Hamas may be politically benefiting from the conflict.

November 16th

NEWS: Egypt's Prime Minister visits Gaza in his official capacity, further eroding Hamas' diplomatic isolation. Exchanges of fire between Israel and militants in Gaza continue in spite of the Egyptian visit. Hamas is testing its strength in the new Middle Eastern strategic environment. Pres. Morsy finds himself trapped between popular and ideological sympathy for Hamas and Egypt's foreign policy. Pres. Obama urges Morsy to help promote calm, and Morsy urges Obama to restrain Israel. Signs are increasing of a possible Israeli ground attack in Gaza. The conflict is also being played out in social media. Rockets fired from Gaza land near Tel Aviv, with both Hamas and Islamic Jihad claiming responsibility. The UN says one of its teachers in Gaza is among the civilians killed during Israeli attacks. Gaza residents are repeating defensive measures they learned in 2008 in order to survive. It's not clear how far Israel wants to take the conflict. Palestinian protesters are increasingly turning to closing roads as a form of nonviolent protest. Palestinian refugees in the Sidon area are trying to stay out of Lebanese sectarian tensions. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood organizes demonstrations protesting Israel's actions in Gaza. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says militant groups in Gaza, particularly Hamas, may be seeking to force Morsy's hand. Zvi Bar'el says Morsy's challenge is to arrange an Israel-Hamas truce that sticks. Dan Williams says Israel is not keen to invade Gaza. AP says the current Israeli offensive is similar to that in 2008, but with more limited aims. The LA Times says it's urgent that Israel and the Palestinians resume negotiations instead of exchanging attacks. Amira Hass says the conflict will probably end up strengthening Hamas politically among Palestinians.Jonathan Freedland says the conflict will resolve nothing. The National says Hamas hasn't learned from previous conflicts and is wrecking chances of Palestinian national reconciliation. Rania Elhilou says Gaza is not going to become unlivable, it is unlivable already.Chelo Rosenberg says Israel must disengage from Gaza altogether. Daniel Kurtzer says the conflict shows why it is vital for the United States to resuscitate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Daniel Byman says both Israel and Hamas have to be very careful in how they proceed, because both have much to lose in the current conflict.

November 15th

NEWS: Rocket and missile attacks continue between Israel and Gaza, with 3 Israeli civilians and at least 13 Palestinians, including several civilians, killed. Egypt reportedly asks the US to intervene to stop the violence and recalls its envoy to Israel. The US is reportedly trying to stop the conflict from breaking Egypt-Israel relations. The violence prompts a rise in international oil prices. AP recalls Israel's long history of assassinating Hamas leaders. Pres. Abbas calls for an urgent Arab meeting on the conflict, and PLO officials ask the UN to intervene. For Israel, the new conflict comes in the context of the changed regional political landscape.Ma'an provides an obituary for slain Hamas commander al-Jaabari. Peter Beinart is banned from an Atlanta Jewish book festival. The Student Senate at UC Irvine urges university divestment from companies “complicit” in human rights violations by Israel. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says the price for the new round of violence between Israel and Hamas, motivated by their internal politics, will be paid by the ordinary Palestinians of Gaza. The New York Times says it's hard to see how a new war in Gaza will benefit Israel and that its policies would be more defensible if it were engaged in serious negotiations with the PLO. Some experts say Israel's escalation is an effort to restore deterrence. Eric Yoffie says progressive Jewish Americans should support Israel's “get tough policy” in Gaza. Barak Ravid says before the assassination, Israel did its best to lull Hamas into a false sense of security. Ha'aretz calls for calm. Eitan Haber says without a peace agreement Israel faces endless wars. Jonathan Rosen says, beyond rhetoric, its policies show the Netanyahu government wants a strong Hamas in power in Gaza. Eva Illouz looks of the disturbing pattern of Jewish and other critics of Israel's policies being automatically branded “anti-Semitic.” Elias Harfoush says the latest PLO UN initiative is pointless, but the Daily Star says it makes no sense for Hamas to engage in a conflict with Israel while the PLO is trying to achieve something at the UN. Yossi Alpher analyzes the strategic dimensions of Israel's decision to escalate in Gaza.

November 14th

NEWS: Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari is killed by an Israeli missile attack. Israeli diplomats say their country will consider the Oslo Agreements null and void if Palestinians go forward with a request for nonmember state observer status at the UN. An internal Israeli government document says toppling Pres. Abbas is one possible response. The PA rejects the threats. Israel is reportedly considering a compromise in which the Palestinian UN bid would be dropped in favor of “provisional statehood.” 6 Palestinians are injured by Israeli forces in West Bank commemorations of the1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence. Four rockets from Sinai land in southern Israel. Palestinians prepare to exhume the body of the late Pres. Arafat, as a French doctor at the hospital where he died says there is "absolutely no way" he was poisoned. Israel prepares its latest missile-defense system. Egypt strongly criticizes Israel for attacks against Gaza. Fighting between Israel and militants in Gaza appears to have subsided. Israel says it will launch a satellite in the coming months. Israel is planning to evict 120 Bedouins to make way for a landfill. The PA continues to struggle to pay public employee salaries. European watchdogs say they're concerned by PA pressure against Palestinian journalists. Some Palestinian refugees in Jordan say they still want to return to Israel. Khalid Mishal may still be a contender to continue to head Hamas' politburo. COMMENTARY: Sufian Abu Zaida says Palestinians can only envy the American elections and accountable political system. James Zogby says Hussein Ibish is wrong and that the Arab-American community is already politically "normalized." Carlo Strenger says Akiva Eldar is wrong and that Israelis and Palestinians have to look beyond a two-state solution. Daniel Levy says fault lines between Israel and the second Obama administration are already showing. Zvi Bar'el says discrimination against Arabs in Israel is normal. The Jerusalem Post says Israel would be better off promoting an independent state in Gaza. Ben Sales interviews Palestinian businessman Munib al-Masri. George Semaan says Pres. Obama will have to deal with the Middle East, including the Palestinian issue. Rafi Noy argues that Pres. Assad’s regime may be better for Israel than that of the Syrian insurgents.

November 13th

NEWS: Pres. Abbas says the PLO will present its new UN resolution on Nov.29. Israel says it may cut off transfer of all Palestinian tax and other revenues if the PLO proceeds with the initiative. PLO officials are seeking feedback, especially in Europe, on their draft resolution. Palestinian officials say Pres. Obama placed a personal phone call to Abbas expressing opposition to the initiative, but Abbas said he would go ahead anyway. FM Lieberman meets ambassadors to rally opposition to the Palestinian initiative. Israel's finance minister admits the country has doubled spending on settlement activity in recent years. Israel fires warning shots into Syria. 7 more Palestinians are killed in fighting in a refugee camp outside Damascus. Violence continues to escalate on the Israel-Gaza border. Israel says it is prepared for major military action in Gaza if necessary, as four Palestinians and a youth are killed by Israeli shelling. The PA says it is again beginning to partially pay public employee salaries. Israel announces 500 new settlement housing units in the occupied West Bank. Russian experts will now join French and Swiss investigators looking into the death of the late Pres. Arafat. 1,200 tunnels between Egypt and Gaza are reportedly operating at full capacity, but Egypt may be preparing to destroy many of them. A new breast cancer screening unit is operating in the occupied West Bank. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says Arab Americans must politically normalize themselves.The New York Times says it would be a huge mistake for Obama not to reengage with Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, but Thomas Friedman says he is otherwise occupied. Amira Hass says it's hard to tell who has a tighter “iron fist” against demonstrators, Hamas or Israel.Gideon Levy says Israel is not an apartheid state, but its occupation is an apartheid system. Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say Israel will probably avoid a major military operation in Gaza, but may assassinate Hamas leaders. Barry Rubin says Israeli leaders are increasingly realizing they cannot simply rely on the US as a protector. Rachel Shabi looks of a new film about how Israeli courts enforce military rule against Palestinians. The National says Israel's reaction to Palestinian UN initiatives shows "anxiety, ruthlessness and hypocrisy." Eitan Schwartz says diplomacy with the Palestinians is the only way to end Israel's international isolation. Raja Shehadeh recalls his father's1967 peace proposal to Israel. Stephen Rosen asks if J Street is winning a battle over Israel in the Democratic Party. Ami Ayalon says a two-state solution is Israel's only hope. The Media Line interviews Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Shtayyeh.In his final column after 35 years at Haaretz, Akiva Eldar urges Israelis to keep the two-state solution alive.

November 9th

NEWS: A Palestinian boys killed by Israeli forces during clashes with Palestinian militants in Gaza. DM Barak says Iran has slowed uranium enrichment. Palestinian farmers are increasingly adopting organic methods. Israel warns Syria about stray missiles landing in the occupied Golan Heights. Sudan says Israel will face a “painful response” to an alleged bombing attack. The Arab League says it will organize a “stand in solidarity” with the Palestinians. FM Lieberman faces possible indictment next month. PM Netanyahu is being criticizing Israel for openly supporting Mitt Romney in the American election. Fatah members in Gaza say Hamas refused to allow them to commemorate the death of the late Pres. Arafat. The Arab League says 51 states are still undecided about a Palestinian request for UN nonmember observer state status. Palestinians are circulating a draft of the proposed resolution. PLO officials say the UK is pressuring them to abandon the initiative. Israeli Amb. Oren says his country is coordinating closely with the US to thwart any Palestinian UN initiative. A report suggests Palestinians might be willing to postpone the initiative if they were presented with American incentives on negotiations with Israel. A photograph of a young Palestinian girl confronting an occupation soldier variously enrages and fascinates Israelis. Ireland says it would like, but thinks it will be unable to secure, an EU ban on Israeli settlement products. Palestinian ex-pats are building palatial homes in the occupied West Bank. COMMENTARY: The LA Times interviews controversial Israeli historian Benny Morris. Yossi Verter Says PM Netanyahu will never forget wrongly betting against Pres. Obama's reelection. Aluf Benn says Obama won't punish Netanyahu, but Eli Bardenstein says he might. Bradley Burston recalls the profound cultural impact in the United States of the fictionalized book and movie account of the founding of Israel, “Exodus.” Michael Herzog says the growth of extremism in Gaza has made it a powder keg. George Hishmeh says Obama should follow George Washington's advice about passionate attachments regarding Israel. The Arab News says Arabs should give Obama the benefit of the doubt on Iran and Israel. Nervana Mahmoud says it would be madness for Israel and the West to abandon Pres. Abbas in favor of a rising Hamas. Gershon Baskin says Obama has a historic opportunity to forge Israeli-Palestinian peace.

November 8th

NEWS: PM Netanyahu is seen as moving quickly to try to repair relations with Pres. Obama, and Palestinians appear lukewarm to his victory. Israeli forces and militants in Gaza exchange fire. Israel says it is ready to resume negotiations with the Palestinians without preconditions.Israel and Russia continue intensive consultations. PLO officials insist their renewed UN bid is an effort to save the two-state solution. Hamas says Pres. Abbas is not welcome in Gaza. Quartet envoy Blair says Obama's reelection opens the door for a new push on Middle East peace. Amnesty International declares Palestinian nonviolent protester Bassem Tamimi, now held in Israeli jail, to be a “prisoner of conscience.” Three shells fired from Syria land near an Israeli settlement in the occupied Golan Heights. DM Barak demands the US and Israel work together to thwart a renewed Palestinian UN bid. COMMENTARY: David Ignatius says Israeli-Palestinian peace should be a major priority for a 2nd Obama term. Yossi Sarid apologizes to Obama for Netanyahu's behavior and urges him to resume peace efforts urgently. Ha'aretz says Obama must now face two crucial problems: Iran and Israeli-Palestinian peace. Gideon Levy says Israel desperately needs Obama to save it from its own occupation. Sima Kadmon says Israel will pay a price for Netanyahu's hostility towards Obama. Kamel Abu Jaber wonders whether or not it is wise to raise the issue of a renewed Jordanian role in the West Bank. Michael Jansen says the Palestinians are always the forgotten people, this time in Syria. Yossi Melman says Netanyahu's goal in 2010 was to provoke, not attack, Iran. Hani al-Masri doubts that PM Fayyad intends to resign. Bernard Avishai says Obama should appoint Bill Clinton his new Middle East envoy. Aaron David Miller says Middle East policy can make or break Obama's legacy.

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