October 9th

NEWS: Israel launches fresh air strikes against Gaza following an exchange of fire with militants. Lebanon says Israeli warplanes circled its airspace for an hour. Israel deploys a missile defense system after shooting down a suspected drone. Iran says the incident highlights Israel's vulnerability. Violent Israeli settlers are again disrupting the olive picking season in the occupied West Bank. Three settlers are arrested for assaulting undercover Israeli police officers posing as Palestinians. Prominent Israelis attend an event in honor of a settler about to be incarcerated for abusing a Palestinian teenager. Hamas persists in boycotting upcoming local West Bank elections. The PA says it cannot yet set a date for paying public employees' September salaries. Palestinian officials say a renewed UN bid is the only way to counter Israeli settlement expansion. The Media Line profiles a Palestinian businessman accused of fraud who has fled to Jordan. Young Israelis are increasingly moving to the occupied Golan Heights. COMMENTARY: Republican candidate Mitt Romney outlines his vision of Middle East policy in a speech at VMI. Israelis and Palestinians react to Romney's address. Chemi Shalev says the speech sounds like former Pres. George W. Bush but reads like Pres. Obama. The Jerusalem Post says it won't back either American candidate. David Rothkopf says Israel and the US are coming close to an agreement on how an attack against Iran would be structured. Oudeh Basharat says Israel's new campaign on Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world is designed to thwart Palestinian claims. The Daily Star says the anniversary of the 1973 war with Israel shows how much the Arab world has abandoned its ideals. Jacob Silverman looks at the differences in perspective between Norman Finkelstein and Anna Baltzer as a generational divide.Kate Gould says unconditional US military aid to Israel fuels violence with the Palestinians. Ibrahim Sharqieh says Obama must stand up to PM Netanyahu on Israeli settler violence. Linda Gradstein says an Israel-Iran war is not on the horizon. Hussein Ibish says the ongoing exchange of missile attacks with Israel illustrates much about changes taking place within Hamas.

October 5th

NEWS: Violent clashes erupt at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in occupied East Jerusalem after extremist Israelis repeatedly enter Muslim holy areas. Some Jewish extremists in Israel dream of establishing a “Third Temple” on the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and they are moving closer to Israel's social and political mainstream. Independent Israeli newspapers are under severe pressure from market and political forces. An unidentified American citizen kills one Israeli worker at an Israeli resort before being shot by police. A Lebanese man pleads not guilty in Cyprus to charges of planning to attack Israelis. A 20-year-old man is in hospital in Gaza after immolating himself. The PA says it's now starting to distribute public employees' August salaries. Large groups of American evangelical Christians march in Jerusalem in support of Israel. A prominent member of Ramla's Muslim community is found murdered inside the city's Great Mosque. Former Defense Secretary Gates says the US must prevent an Israeli attack against Iran. Israelis and Palestinians cooperate to lay optical cable for Internet services in Gaza. UK FM Hague expresses concern about Israel's West Bank separation barrier. COMMENTARY: Salman Masalha claims Jordan is meddling in Israeli politics. Ha'aretz profiles Marwan Makhoul, a poet who is a Palestinian citizen of Israel. Linda Gradstein says Israeli concerns about the consequences of the conflict in Syria are increasing. Tariq Alhomayed considers the absurdity of Syrian government condemnations of Hamas. Alex Fishman says the Israeli government is being hypocritical in its purported determination to fight settler “price tag” violence. Chuck Freilich says PM Netanyahu is stacking his cabinet in favor of an attack against Iran. Emily Hauser explains how poisonous anti-Semitism is for the Palestinian cause.

October 4th

NEWS: A rift seems to be growing between PM Netanyahu and DM Barak over relations with the US, fueling speculation about an early election. FM Lieberman calls the bickering "unnecessary.” Nationalistic Jewish activists in Israel are increasingly moving into Arab neighborhoods in mixed cities. Journalists at Ha'aretz go on strike. The UN is likely to hold a debate on nonmember observer state status for Palestine in mid-November, after the US election. Hamas denies accusations by Human Rights Watch that it engages in torture and other systematic abuses.The PA says it doesn't expect much help from the donor community and that its budget crisis will worsen. Jewish South Africans are trying to block measures to label Israeli settlement products. A Palestinian citizen of Israel is indicted on espionage charges. Settlers are trying to get Israeli occupation authorities to grant them control of a house in occupied Hebron. Paris signs a cooperation agreement with Palestinian East Jerusalem. Palestinian officials meet with Egypt's intelligence chief. COMMENTARY: Haaretz interviews Dalia Gavriely-Nur on Israelis and peace. The Jerusalem Post complains about what it calls “the radicalization of the Israeli Arab sector.” Joseph Kechichian asks if Israel is a threat to US national interests. George Hishmeh says time is running out for peace. Nassif Hitti asks if a “Palestinian Spring” or a third intifada is in the offing. Noam Sheizaf looks at changes in the Israeli media. Peter Beinart says it's not possible to blame the Palestinians alone, or even mainly, for the present diplomatic impasse.

October 3rd

NEWS: A new UN report says the Israeli occupation is continuing to impede Palestinian access to basic services. PM Netanyahu plans to tour Europe to discuss Iran. Pres. Abbas reiterates that Palestine will apply for UN nonmember observer state status sometime in the next 2 months. The PA says it is trying to coordinate with the EU over the language of the draft resolution. Hamas is reportedly upset about Egypt's new policies towards Gaza, and is seeking a free-trade agreement. Human Rights Watch says Hamas’ security forces in Gaza are committing severe abuses, including torture. Qatar is inviting bids on reconstruction projects it is financing in Gaza. The PA says it will comply with a court order to rehire teachers fired for “security reasons,” and that it will announce a minimum wage on October 15. EU foreign ministers are pushing to clearly label all Israeli settlement products. Israeli media reports suggest Netanyahu may be blaming DM Barak for instigating tensions with the United States, but Barak denies the accusations. The political science department at Ben-Gurion University is placed at risk due to a controversy over settlements. New reports in the Arab press suggest Gaza-based Hamas leader Hanniyeh may become the next head of the organization, not the Cairo-based Abu Marzouk. 20 more Palestinians are reported killed by bombing from Syrian government forces. COMMENTARY: Daniel Haboucha dissects Israel's new campaign to compare Palestinian refugees with Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world. Shmuel Rosner says Palestinians need to do more to acknowledge Jewish history in Jerusalem. Shaul Arieli says for all of the settlement activity, there isn't enough Jewish demographic dominance in the West Bank to make unilateral annexation possible. Shlomo Avineri says foreign donors, particularly conservative Americans, are dominating Israel's election financing, and distorting its democracy. Gershon Baskin says the UN charter requires 2 states for 2 people. Kenneth Bandler says the biggest obstacles to peace come from Palestinian attitudes. Gil Troy agrees, citing Abbas' UN speech. David Makovsky says the US and Israel should keep their bickering behind closed doors. Raja Shehadeh says Palestinians are being coerced, and even blackmailed, by Israeli occupation authorities over access to healthcare.

October 2nd

NEWS: The US reportedly warns, in “private correspondence,” EU states not to support any upgrade in UN status for Palestine to nonmember observer state. Syrian state media lashes out at Hamas. Palestinians say two teams of experts are investigating the death of the late Pres. Arafat. Israeli pro-settler vandals deface a Jerusalem monastery. Hamas detains a group of Muslim extremists in Gaza. PLO officials say Pres. Obama did not ask them to resume negotiations with Israel immediately. The CSM looks at Israel's new campaign to question Palestinian refugee rights by raising the issue of Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world. A former militant turned theater director is released by the PA. Palestinian citizens of Israel commemorate the killing of 14 demonstrators by Israeli police in October 2000. PM Netanyahu's popularity in Israel appears to be getting a post-UN bump. The Forward profiles Henry Siegman, a prominent Jewish American critic of Israeli policies. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says free speech shouldn't be restricted to protect either Islam or Israel. Roger Cohen says Israel and Iran must step back from the brink of war. Rachel Shabi calls Israel's campaign on Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world “obnoxious diplomacy.” Ha'aretz interviews British-Palestinian writer Selma Dabbagh. Yitzhak Laor calls Netanyahu's UN speech “hypocritical.” Rawia Aburabia says Israel needs a holistic approach to dealing with the Bedouins of the Negev. Aaron David Miller says Mitt Romney has shown he has no new ideas on Middle East policy. Alon Ben-Meir says only the US can realize Israeli-Palestinian peace. Louis Charbonneau says Pres. Obama and Netanyahu both got what they wanted out of the UN meeting.

October 1st

NEWS: Qatar says it intends to open a diplomatic office in Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza ask the Egyptian government not to continue destroying smuggling tunnels. PLO officials say a vote on UN nonmember observer state status for Palestine will be “very soon,” and that their issue isn't going to go away even if it is being ignored by the US. Israeli authorities release two detained Hamas politicians in the occupied West Bank. American evangelical Christian TV broadcasters are programming out of Jerusalem. The Israeli-Palestinian group OneVoice is pushing for progress on peace. Electric companies claim some PA agencies haven't paid bills in over 2 years. The PA says it will cut fuel prices starting Oct. 1. The new poll finds most Palestinians enthusiastic about voting and strongly preferring Pres. Abbas over Hamas leader Hanniyeh. DM Barak strongly criticizes FM Lieberman's harsh comments about Abbas. Preparations are still underway for the potential exhumation of the body of the late Pres. Arafat. Jordan appoints a new ambassador to Israel. In its latest crackdown, Hamas is arresting Gaza teenagers wearing baggy pants and prominent underwear. The PA is trying to securitize $200 million in public debt in order to reduce borrowing from banks. COMMENTARY: GOP candidate Mitt Romney is strongly critical of Pres. Obama's Middle East policies. Aaron David Miller says Obama had good political reasons for refusing to meet with PM Netanyahu and Pres. Morsy last week. The Boston Globe says the PAs financial crisis is a problem for the US and Israel as well. Tamir Haddad says Hamas corruption is weighing heavily on Gaza's economy and society. Daniel Levy is harshly critical of Netanyahu's foreign and domestic policies. Rachel Corrie's mother describes the Israeli court verdict in their lawsuit as “deeply disturbing.” Norman Birnbaum decries what he calls “false prophecy” in the Middle East.

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.

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