October 23rd

NEWS: The Emir of Qatar visits Gaza. The Gaza trip is seen as the latest part in Qatar's efforts to develop more regional influence. Fatah officials say they were not invited to meet him. An Israeli soldier is wounded by a bomb on Israel-Gaza border. Pres. Obama and GOP candidate Romney both pledge support for Israel in their final debate. Former Pres. Carter questions whether Israel is interested in a two-state solution, as a new survey indicates most Jewish Israelis would support an apartheid regime in their country. The Israeli Housing Ministry is marketing at least 700 new settlement housing units in the occupied West Bank.UNRWA staff go on strike to protest cuts in services. An Israeli former military lawyer says international opinion on Israel's actions in the occupied territories undermines its self-defense. Israel's Arab citizens are struggling to attend universities. The JGA profiles maverick Gaza journalist Asmaa al-Ghoul. Israel is forbidding the unification of married Palestinian couples between Gaza and the West Bank. Israel is also refusing to allow Gaza students with US-funded scholarships to study in the West Bank. COMMENTARY: Gideon Levy says Israel is an openly, shamelessly apartheid state. Akiva Eldar looks at a new book on Israel's policies towards Lebanon. Anshel Pfeffer says PM Netanyahu is still counting on a Romney victory next week. Harriet Sherwood says intensifying Israeli settlement activity is an indicator of the consequences of Obama's failure to secure a peace agreement. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews a prominent Salafist-Jihadist based in Gaza. Yigal Sarna reviews the film “5 Broken Cameras,” and Marshall Yarbrough reviews “'Sons and Others.” Ibrahim Abu-Ta'a says, whoever wins, the next American president must confront the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hanan Ashrawi says it's absurd to expect Palestinians to ask Israel's permission when applying for international recognition.

October 22nd

NEWS: Fatah scores a mixed result in Palestinian municipal elections, which Hamas boycotted. Palestinian voters are driven by civic duty and economic concerns. Some analysts say the result was a failure for Fatah. Israel seizes control of an activist ship bound for Gaza. Israeli forces kill 2 militants in Gaza. PM Netanyahu says there will be no limit on Israeli settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem. The Emir of Qatar is expected to visit Gaza this week. The Israeli government defers a decision on the Levy Committee Report. Israel is planning to build a National Defense College in occupied East Jerusalem near the Mount of Olives. The rise of Salafists in Gaza robs Hamas of the banner of “resistance.” The Israeli military thinks Hamas is gaining strength in the occupied West Bank. Extremist Jewish Israelis are suspected in an attack on a Palestinian taxi. COMMENTARY: Khaled Diab says Israel has squandered many opportunities on peace. Akiva Eldar says Arabs need to do more to sell the Arab Peace Initiative. Susan Hattis Rolef says Netanyahu won't make the mistake of accepting the Levy Committee Report recommendations. Philip French reviews the film "5 Broken Cameras.” Jonathan Freedland chides those quick to condemn Israel but seemingly uninterested in atrocities committed by the Syrian regime. Noam Marans complains about a letter from American Christian groups to Congress questioning aid to Israel. Moriel Rothman explains a decision not to serve in the Israeli military. Stephen Spiegel says Pres. Obama has a good record on Israel. Keith Koffler says in tonight's presidential campaign debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has a chance to win over Jewish Americans. Gershom Gorenberg says former PM Olmert does not offer solutions to the problems posed by Netanyahu's leadership.

October 19th

NEWS: Israel approves settlement expansions near occupied East Jerusalem.Palestinians begin municipal elections in the occupied West Bank, but face a lack of competition due to a boycott by Hamas. Over 1,000 women are running in the election. A spokesman for Pres. Morsy confirms the authenticity of a letter to Pres. Peres. Both Lebanese and Israelis are annoyed by the TV show “Homeland.” Experts say Jewish Americans are still solidly Democratic. Syrian rebels assassinate a pro-Assad Palestinian activist. Hamas vows to capture more Israeli soldiers. Some Palestinian citizens of Israel say voting is pointless for them, and a new report suggest their towns receive inferior public transportation. Palestinians and settlers trade accusations over this year's olive harvest. Palestinians released in last year's prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas vowed to continue "resistance.”Controversies rage over street-naming in Jerusalem. Palestinians in the West Bank say brewing beer is a form of resistance to occupation. COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz interviews former Amb. Gabriella Shalev, who says she couldn't represent Israel under the current circumstances. Gideon Levy says Israeli statesmen are perennially the “almost-peacemakers.”Patrick Seale says Gaza is a demographic and humanitarian timebomb. Dawoud Abu Lebdeh asks if the PA could deploy civil disobedience as a tool of resistance to the occupation. Ahmad Majdoubeh says Pres. Abbas' decision to try to resume negotiations with Israel after a UN vote is sound. Raja Shehadeh describes Israeli and Palestinian remembrances of the Nakba. Dmitry Shumsky says history doesn't provide a basis for comparing the experiences of Jewish and Palestinian refugees. Paul Pillar says the US must not neglect the need for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

October 18th

NEWS: US troops arrive in Israel for a joint defense drill. Palestinians are reportedly urged by Britain to delay renewing their efforts to secure more recognition at the UN. Shas welcomes back a disgraced former official as co-head of the organization. Israeli officials claim missiles from the war in Libya are making their way to Gaza, and add that war will not solve the problems regarding the territory. The State Department says Palestinian students in the occupied West Bank will be able to take SAT exams that were being withheld by Israeli customs. Egypt's new ambassador to Israel takes up residence in that country. Israeli media misinterpret Facebook comments by Pres. Abbas. A street in occupied East Jerusalem will be named after the late Egyptian singer Umm Kulthoum. Hamas leader Mishaal will reportedly finally visit Gaza again. Hamas says it opposes teaching Holocaust studies in UN schools for Palestinians. In Israel, fascination with former Hamas prisoner Shalit continues. Israel's attorney general reiterates his opposition to the Levy Report and recognition of settlement outposts. Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are going ahead with municipal elections despite a Hamas boycott. COMMENTARY: Adam Gonn says most Israeli experts think the center-left can't unseat PM Netanyahu in upcoming elections. Carlo Strenger says he attaches no hopes to the election. Yossi Verter says it offers the last hope for former PM Olmert to successfully return to Israeli politics. Michael Jansen says a Netanyahu victory would be a disaster for peace. Stuart Reigeluth says the EU needs to do much more to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace. Gil Troy says Pres. Obama is neither anti-Israel nor its best friend. Simran Sachdev looks at the all-women's slate running in Hebron in upcoming Palestinian municipal elections. Douglas Bloomfield says Palestinians are aiming for a "victory" at the UN that could prove more costly than beneficial.

October 17th

NEWS: Israeli officials say an antiaircraft missile was fired at an Israeli warplane from Gaza. Israeli officials insist they estimated food needs in Gaza when designing the blockade. Prosecutors say they will appeal the acquittal verdicts for former PM Olmert. DM Barak denies he met with Pres. Abbas last week. Palestinian protesters block a highway in the occupied West Bank, as settlers continue to destroy olive trees and groves. PM Netanyahu is going into Israel's campaign season foregrounding his “tough guy” image. Abbas sends a letter to Pres. Obama explaining the renewed UN bid and reiterating support for two states. Palestinian public sector employees say they're going to strike over unpaid salaries. The Israeli government says it will accept some “practical recommendations” regarding settlement construction of the Levy Report, but bypass its legal findings. New study suggests only 5.5% of municipal properties in Jerusalem are serving its Arab residents. Hamas leader in Gaza Haniyyeh has reportedly transferred operational authority to his deputy to concentrate on the Politburo leadership contest. Palestinians are preparing to vote in West Bank municipal elections. Palestinian sources say a French team investigating the death of the late Pres. Arafat will arrive in Ramallah on November 26, and have reportedly interrogated his widow. COMMENTARY: Bradley Burston says only Netanyahu can defeat himself in the upcoming Israeli election. Ha'aretz says, in spite of Israeli government rhetoric, a binational reality has already emerged in the areas under Israeli control. Dalia Hatuqa looks at the ways Hamas is redefining itself after breaking with the Syrian regime. The Daily Star says Palestinians need to act in their own interests no matter what the US says. Hannah Weisfeld says Israel needs to clearly label products from settlements. Wendy Kaminer says it's essential to protect the free speech rights of even the most extreme anti-Zionists.

October 16th

NEWS: The US says a renewed Palestinian UN bid would threaten the peace process. Palestinian officials say there are diminished hopes in the peace process and the prospects for a two-state solution. More evidence emerges that former PM Olmert may be planning a comeback to challenge PM Netanyahu. Israel's parliament formally announces elections for Jan. 22. Palestinian sources claim Pres. Abbas met secretly in Jordan last week with DM Barak. A leading Israeli radio station bans playing a military protest song. Egypt's campaign against Gaza smuggling tunnels demonstrates that national interests are trumping ideology. Smuggled iPhone 5s are reportedly selling well in Gaza in spite of astronomical prices. The PA announces a plan to increase trade with Arab countries. The US reiterates it does not accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlement activity. The BBC and Bloomberg both look at the Palestinian economic crisis. A new Egyptian movie looks unflinchingly at the fate of the Jewish community in that country. South Africa is moving forward with regulations to clearly distinguish settlement products from those made in Israel. COMMENTARY: David Myers says the threatened shutdown of Ben-Gurion University's Department of Politics and Government for political reasons would be “a further erosion of democratic values in Israel.” Akiva Eldar says a new Israeli government report demonstrates there is no Jewish majority between the river and the sea, and that, therefore, an apartheid reality now exists in the territories controlled by Israel. Salman Masalha says sensible Palestinian citizens of Israel have no one to vote for. Gershon Baskin outlines how, if he were Israel's prime minister, he would revive the peace process. Paul Scham and Edy Kaufman say it's time to look for alternatives to a two-state solution, but don't find any reasonable ones. Analysts call the planned visit by the Emir of Qatar to Gaza, "a reward to Hamas for breaking ties with Syria."

October 15th

NEWS: The Romney Campaign announces the formation of an “Arab-Americans for Romney” coalition. An all-female ticket is making its presence felt in upcoming local Palestinian elections. New Israeli airstrikes bring the number killed in Gaza during the ongoing round of violence to five. Former Hamas prisoner Shalit recalls his captivity in Gaza. The US cancels scholarships for students in Gaza after Israel refuses to allow them to travel. Islamists in Egypt play on anti-Israel sentiment. Pres. Abbas says he was “two months” away from a peace agreement with former PM Olmert. Salafists in Gaza complain Hamas is preventing them from establishing a new political party. The Emir of Qatar is reportedly planning to visit Gaza. A former senior aide to the late Pres. Arafat says Israel is reaching out to potential future Palestinian leaders, including those in Israeli prison. Israel is planning an international PR campaign to improve the image of settlers. PM Netanyahu is in a strong position for upcoming Israeli elections, but faces numerous uncertainties. Palestinians in the West Bank are holding weekly nonviolent protests against the latest expansion of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. COMMENTARY: Saliba Sarsar and Hussein Ibish point to vital lessons for the Middle East conflict from events during past Novembers. Barak Ravid says, as Israel's elections loom, Palestinians feel nothing but despair. Harriet Sherwood thinks Netanyahu is on the right track to victory. Ha'aretz interviews PLO official Ashrawi. Ari Shavit says new reports on secret Israeli-Syrian negotiations reflect well on Netanyahu. Amos Harel says extremists in Sinai are making a Hamas-Israel conflict, which neither party wants, more likely. Jeff Barak says the next American president will find a pressing need to get the parties to return to the negotiating table. Khaled Diab says Israeli settlers can prove to be unlikely peace activists. Zohar Nevo says the new head of Magen David has a long history of ugly anti-Arab racism. Pierre Klochendler looks at the struggle over neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.

October 12th

NEWS:Yedioth Ahronoth claims secret peace negotiations took place between the Israeli and Syrian governments in late 2010. Hezbollah confirms it launched a drone over Israel. Iran and the economy are likely to dominate Israel's upcoming election. A poll suggests a super-coalition of left of center parties could win a majority. Hamas bans the announcement of a new Salafist party in Gaza. The ADL withdraws from an interfaith dialogue group over questions about US aid to Israel. Palestinian university staff in the West Bank and Gaza may go on strike. The PA and Jordan sign agricultural cooperation agreements.Israeli settlers are accused of stealing tons of topsoil from Palestinian land. Israel announces another initiative to establish a special police unit to deal with settler terrorism. A human rights group says the Israeli government is not doing enough to protect Palestinian olive trees from destruction by Israeli settlers. In rare cases settlers are helping and cooperating with Palestinians. Real estate in Gaza has become among the most expensive land in the world.The spiritual head of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood says “jihad” is the only way to deal with Israel. COMMENTARY: Shmuel Rosner recounts an ideological Israeli tour of the occupied West Bank that suggests Israel should control the area permanently.Ha'aretz says Israel needs to do more to fight discrimination against Arab women. Adi Schwartz says it is high time that Israel raised the issue of Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world. Meron Benvenisti tells other Jewish Israelis to "stop whining" and become one-staters. Ha'aretz interviews released PA prisoner Zakaria Zubeidi. Gilead Sher says both Israel and the Palestinians should engage in “constructive unilateralism.” Tariq Alhomayed says while Hamas leader Mishaal is admitting the organization's failures, it is in fact linked to a generalized governance failure of Islamists. Helmi Moussa says rocket attacks from Gaza challenge Israel's strategy. Gil Troy says he cannot bring himself to vote for PM Netanyahu. Graham Allison says Israel has credibility problems with its talk of “red lines” regarding Iran. Jonathan Schanzer looks at the succession and power struggles in Hamas.

October 11th

NEWS: The US and Israel are staging a massive air defense drill. Palestinian voters seem skeptical about the value of upcoming local elections in the occupied West Bank. Israeli warplanes attack militant facilities in northern Gaza. The PA anti-corruption commission is investigating PLO-owned land registered in the name of individual officials. An Israeli man suffers minor injuries after being stabbed by a Palestinian near Bethlehem. A new Israeli poll suggests PM Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition partners are stronger than ever.Palestinians say they don't expect any changes to Israeli policies as a result of the election. Palestinian parties in Israel may unite under a single ticket for the election. The Arab world seems uninterested in Israel's election. Netanyahu appears to be hoping to gain by the revival of Republican presidential candidate Romney's prospects. Palestinians urge Romney to take a more balanced view of the conflict. The PA says Israel is violating Oslo Agreement water pricing. EU officials say they warned Palestinians about the potential costs of a renewed UN bid. Outgoing Hamas leader Mishaal admits it is difficult to reconcile “resistance” with governance and calls on Islamists to manage their relations with the West. COMMENTARY: David Landau says former PM Olmert must run in the coming Israeli elections if there is any hope of defeating Netanyahu. Eric Yoffie says Israelis should make peace a central election issue. Roni Shaked says Hamas wants to avoid a major escalation with Israel in spite of recent violence. Douglas Bloomfield says Netanyahu has found the Iranian nuclear program a convenient excuse for no progress on peace with the Palestinians. Yolande Knell asks why Netanyahu has called an early election. Nathan Jeffay says Netanyahu laid the grounds for the new elections in his UN speech.

October 10th

NEWS: Pres. Abbas will reportedly call for renewed negotiations with Israel without preconditions following a UN vote in November. PM Netanyahu announces new Israeli elections for early 2013. Former Israeli PM Olmert may be considering a comeback. More rockets are fired at southern Israel from Gaza following renewed Israeli airstrikes. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has softened his stance towards the Palestinians. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon face growing health concerns. Hamas says it will investigate reports that its forces abused journalists. The Israeli military says it may reinstitute Arabic translations during military tribunals in the occupied West Bank. The unemployment rate among Palestinian citizens of Israel appears to be twice as high as previously thought. The PA reiterates that lack of interest from donors has intensified its cash crisis. The PA approves the first private-sector Palestinian minimum wage. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says settler violence is inherent to the social dynamics and ideology of the occupation. Andrew Quinn says Romney's Middle East policy speech was short on details. Chris McGreal asks if there any real differences between Romney's policies and Pres. Obama's. Sefi Rachlevsky says it's possible for a coalition of non-right-wing political parties to prevail in the next election. Gershon Baskin says turning away from a two-state solution would be a disaster for both Israeli and Palestinian self-determination. Emad El Din Adeeb thinks the 1973 war was an Arab military victory. Reuven Pedatzur says Israel can deter Iran. A new film looks at sexual affairs between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Aaron David Miller says neither Obama nor Romney are as "good" or "bad" on Israel as Jewish Americans think. Abdullatif Al-Mulhim says the Arab world has wasted billions of dollars and tens of thousands of innocent lives quixotically fighting Israel.

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