August 10th

NEWS: Egyptian troops are moving to restore order in Sinai, testing a key provision of the peace treaty with Israel: demilitarization of the peninsula. Human rights activists say Israeli forces are entering Egyptian territory in the Sinai Peninsula to intercept would-be African migrants. Hamas says Egypt temporarily lifted its closure of the Gaza crossing point, but only to let people back into Gaza. Residents of an Israeli settlement slated for court-ordered eviction are raising funds in an effort to buy the land from its Palestinian owners. Israel frees a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner. Israeli occupation authorities in East Jerusalem ordered the demolition of 2 trailers provided to displaced Palestinians by the UN. Pres. Abbas forms a committee to study women's rights. Palestinians say they're going to raise their VAT in September. The PA Finance Minister says most public-sector employees will be paid next Monday. An Israeli military tribunal convicts a Palestinian man in the death of an Israeli soldier in 2000. Israel's largest newspaper says PM Netanyahu and DM Barak are mulling a fall strike against Iran. Palestinian refugees in Syria are fleeing to Lebanon. A report into alleged anti-Semitism on UC campuses draws controversy. COMMENTARY: ATFP Pres. Ziad J. Asali gives his take on Palestinian culture. Zahi Khouri challenges Mitt Romney's account of Palestinian circumstances. Ha'aretz says Israel should cooperate with Egypt in every way it can so as to restore order in Sinai. Hussein Shabokshi says Egypt has to change the way it deals with Sinai altogether. Ofer Shelah says following the Sinai attack, Israel must reprioritize its security concerns. Amir Oren says Israel should be extremely concerned about the consequences of an attack on Iran that is not coordinated with the United States. Brent Sasley says the Israeli left is growing more pragmatic. Kathleen Peratis calls plans for the forced eviction of Palestinian villagers in the occupied West Bank a "human rights calamity.”

August 9th

NEWS: Israel and Iran are engaged in a shadowy war of covert operations. Residents in one of Israel's southernmost communities were not far from the attack on Egyptian forces in Sinai, as militant forces are gaining strength there and Egypt moves to suppress them. Egypt asks Hamas to hand over three Hamas militants suspected of involvement in the attack. Officials say Egyptian-Israeli security cooperation is at a high point following the attack. Palestinians say Swiss experts have been invited to examine the body of the late Pres. Arafat to look for signs of poisoning, but the lab says it will only do that if it is guaranteed its findings won't be used for "political purposes." Shots are fired at the office of PM Fayyad in Ramallah. Fayyad condemns Israeli plans to evict 12 Palestinian shepherd communities to make way for military fire zones. The EU says it expects Israel to cancel all demolition orders in "Area C." Hamas objects to the idea of holding Palestinian elections before national reconciliation. Washington is reportedly continuing to pressure Palestinians to delay any renewed effort at greater UN recognition until after the upcoming US presidential election. COMMENTARY: Louis Frankentaler says torture need not be an integral part of Israel's occupation. Khaled Diab says Arab and Israeli women face common challenges. Sari Bashi says occupation, not culture, is holding back the Palestinian economy. Adel Al Toraifi says it's vital for Egypt's national interests that the country move quickly to restore order in Sinai. George Hishmeh says Israel is rapidly losing international support, especially in Europe. Gerard Horton says Palestinian children in Israeli detention must be treated justly. Abdallah Iskandar says the attack on Egyptian forces in Sinai is helping Israel clamp down on Palestinians.

August 8th

NEWS: Egyptian military officials say “elements from Gaza” were involved in the recent attack on their soldiers in Sinai. Smugglers say the renewed closure of Gaza has sent prices soaring there, as Egyptian officials say they're planning to reopen the crossing soon. Israel claims Hezbollah smuggled explosives into northern Israel. Palestinians are angered by FM Lieberman's comments highly critical of Pres. Abbas. Abbas asks donors to fulfill their pledges to the PA, and reiterates that Palestinians are going to resume efforts at the UN even if that conflicts with the interests of others. Israel evacuates and dismantles a tiny “unauthorized” settlement outpost. The JTA profiles gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson. Palestinian homes in Israeli military “fire zones” in the occupied West Bank face demolition. COMMENTARY: The New York Times says Pres. Morsy must work with Israel to restore order in the Sinai Peninsula. Yaron Friedman says the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty needs to be revised to accomplish this. Khaled Abu Toameh says the Sinai attack is a disaster for Hamas. Osama Al Sharif says all parties -- Israel, Egypt and Hamas -- will have to play their part. The Daily Star says Gaza is paying dearly for the militarization of Sinai. Ruth Marcus says the social and political influence of the ultra-Orthodox is growing in Israel. Zvi Bar'el says Israel is about to take away one of the few remaining glimmers of hope for Palestinians living under occupation: Israel's court system, and Shaul Arieli says the proposals are part of a disturbing pattern. Yizhar Hess says Israel needs to address its own problems with religious freedom. Frank Jacobs tracks the history of mapping the "Holy Land." Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi says Fatah may be facing a Palestinian uprising against itself.

August 7th

NEWS: The attack on Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula tests Egypt's new government and its relations with Israel. The attack appears to lessen chances Hamas can get Egypt to change its Gaza crossing border policies, as Gaza is more or less closed to the outside world. Pres. Abbas expresses Palestinian solidarity with Egypt in the fight against terrorism. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood posts an article on its website saying Israel may be responsible for the attack. Tribal leaders in the Peninsula say they warned Egyptian officials about extremist activity. PM Fayyad says Palestinians should hold parliamentary elections as soon as possible without waiting for a reconciliation between the PA and Hamas. Environmental concerns shadow Israel's offshore oil drilling. Tel Aviv's city council rejects the inclusion of Arabic in its logo. Water in Gaza is increasingly polluted and expensive. Palestinian refugees in Syria are seeking help from Lebanon. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says Egypt's new president has little choice but to continue with traditional foreign policy approaches towards the Sinai Peninsula and Israel. Ofer Aderet recalls the hanging of 2 British soldiers by Jewish extremists in Palestine during the mandatory period. Edgar Bronfman says Pres. Obama has not talked about supporting Israel, but simply done it. The Jerusalem Post says it's time for Egypt and Israel to combat a common enemy, terrorism. Gershon Baskin says Israel must relieve itself of the shadow of apartheid present in the occupation. Peter Joseph and David Halperin say both Israel and the Palestinians need a two-state solution. Gilad Kariv says Israel must accommodate Arabic. Richard Cohen says there is an important cultural difference between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

August 6th

NEWS: Israel bars diplomats from countries that do not have diplomatic relations with it from entering the occupied West Bank to meet with Palestinian officials. Armed militants attack Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula, killing 15. Israel says the militants tried to cross into its territory and 8 of them were killed in the process. The Palestinian leadership condemns the attack, and Israel's ambassador to the US accuses Iran of being behind it. Israel upgrades its Arrow missile defense system. Palestinians are continuing to lay the groundwork for renewed efforts at greater UN recognition. Palestinians send a convoy of aid to Palestinian refugees in Syria. An Israeli airstrike kills a Palestinian militant and wounds another in Gaza. Registration begins in the West Bank for local elections scheduled later this year. New Israeli regulations may prevent undocumented migrants and Palestinians living under occupation from filing court cases. Palestinian villagers are erecting stone walls to prevent their lands from being seized by Israeli settlers. Casino tycoon Adelson is reportedly pressuring Mitt Romney to publicly back the release of convicted Israeli spy Pollard. COMMENTARY: Avraham Burg says Israel's democracy is threatened as it may be drifting towards becoming “another Middle Eastern theocracy.” Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say Israel still faces major dangers from groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula. Gili Heskin says it makes no sense for Israel to consider formally recognizing “unauthorized” settlement outposts. Raleb Majadele says Israel should emulate American self-criticism. Eitan Haber says Israel and the Arab states face a common enemy in Muslim extremists. Jillian Kestler-D'Amours says the Palestinian economy in Ramallah and other cities is a bubble waiting to burst. Jonathan Schanzer tracks how Palestinian refugees in Syria are turning against the Assad regime. Eric Yoffie says Israel is losing the battle for public opinion in United States.

August 3rd

NEWS: 21 people are killed during the shelling of a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. Israel urges its citizens to leave the Sinai Peninsula. A former head of Israel's military intelligence says a missile attack on the Tel Aviv area would elicit an unprecedented response, and another says any attack on Iran would be premature and unwise. The Israeli government calculates that an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would delay the program by approximately 2 years. The murder of a battered woman by her husband continues to stir outrage among Palestinians in the West Bank. PLO officials say they still haven't decided a date on which to resume efforts at the UN. Israel is making contingency plans regarding the deteriorating situation in Syria. The UK ambassador to that country says Israel is rapidly losing international support. Israel has invested more than $2.5 billion in settlements between 2003-2011. COMMENTARY: Herb Keinon says the new Israel-PA trade agreement isn't sexy but it's extremely important. Ha'aretz interviews Brian Lurie, the new head of the New Israel Fund. David Grossman says Israelis cannot stay silent as their government is pushing them towards war with Iran. A new Israeli film profiles a group of Palestinians who make their living scavenging in rubbish dumps. Ron Ben-Yishai says Israel realizes only the United States can stop the Iranian nuclear program and increasingly thinks it will. Hirsh Goodman says it makes no sense for Israelis to dislike Pres. Obama. Zuhair Kseibati says Palestinians are no longer the only “tent people” in the Middle East. Yousef Al Kuwailet says it makes no sense for Arabs to continue to opt out of trying to influence the American political equation. Danna Harman looks at efforts by Russell Simmons and Marc Schneier to strengthen Muslim-Jewish relations. Lara Friedman says American politicians are exploiting Jewish migrants to Israel from Arab states. Zvika Krieger profiles settlement movement leader Dani Dayan.

August 2nd

NEWS: The US and Israel are intensifying talks about Iran. Ephraim Halevy says Iran should be worried about possible military action in the coming weeks. Palestinians are preparing to deal with negative consequences from Israel and the United States in the event of another UN bid. Palestinian women express outrage at the murder of a battered wife by her husband. Hamas condemns the visit of a senior advisor to Pres. Abbas to Auschwitz. Interpol is circulating an image of the man thought responsible for the terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. Palestinians say there are now more than half a million Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories. A Hamas official downplays expectations from the new Egyptian government. Palestinian officials denounce Israel's closure of Orient House in occupied East Jerusalem. The University of California is considering banning political “hate speech.” COMMENTARY: Fareed Zakaria says Mitt Romney's view of the relationship between culture and economics is profoundly unsound. Ron Pundak says PM Netanyahu's apparent plans for the occupied West Bank would be a catastrophe for everyone. Noam Dvir looks at the architectural style of Palestinian villas in northern Israel. Zafrir Rinat says Israeli settlers yearn for an environment without borders or Palestinians. Douglas Bloomfield wonders if Romney's Israel trip suggests he's "not ready for prime time.” Ron Kampeas says Jewish Americans are among those alarmed by Islamlophobic attacks on an aide to Sec. Clinton. The National says Iran is a threat, but Israeli and American hints about possible military action are unhelpful. Hani al-Masri says Palestinian political divisions are becoming more apparent. Mustafa Barghouthi says American and Israeli policies are pushing Palestinians, including himself, away from a two-state solution to a one-state aspiration.

August 1st

NEWS: Israel and the PA reach a quietly negotiated agreement on tax revenue collection and trade. One Hamas militant is killed and 2 others are wounded in a car explosion in Gaza. PM Netanyahu denies any split with the Israeli military over Iran. Pres. Morsy has apparently sent a letter to Pres. Peres vowing to try to help “the Middle East peace process back to its right track,” although his spokesperson denies the existence of any such letter. The Israeli government is reportedly set to approve grants for building hotels in settlements in the occupied West Bank. Former Obama advisor Dennis Ross says he still supports the president. An 80-year-old battle over land ownership in the Negev between Bedouins and Jews has shifted into the Israeli courts. COMMENTARY: Mitt Romney insists that culture is a factor in economic success. Thomas Friedman says Mitt Romney's Israel trip was such shameless fund-raising it should have been held in Las Vegas. Hussein Ibish says whatever Romney's campaign rhetoric is now, if elected he will default to traditional American policies. The Washington Post criticizes Romney's remarks about Palestinian culture. The LA Times agrees that Romney was pandering and unhelpful. Rich Lowry says he agrees with Romney. Elias Harfoush says Romney was “begging for Jewish votes.” Ron Kampeas says Romney and Obama are showing “love for Israel” in different ways. Sam Bahour says the prospect of a Romney presidency is frightening. Amira Hass says Israel is using water as a weapon against Palestinians in the West Bank. Ali Khaled says Israeli historical narratives erase Palestinian Christian history. Benny Morris says Israel has become the most dangerous place in the world for Jews.

July 31st

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.”

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