NEWS: The UN Human Rights Council says Israel should face sanctions over its settlement activity. Hamas says media reports it accepts a two-state solution are inaccurate, since it does not. Some claim bigoted Jewish Israeli soccer fans reflect broader intolerance throughout their society. Israel's two largest political parties endorse PM Netanyahu for another term in office. The Syrian government claims Israel attacked a military research center near the Lebanon border. Lebanese authorities confirm there was no attack inside Lebanon. Hamas says it's going to try to teach more Gaza schoolchildren Hebrew, "the enemy language." A family of six in Gaza dies in a tragic fire. Netanyahu says only US military strike can stop Iran's nuclear program. COMMENTARY: The New York Times says Israel was unwise to boycott the review of its record by the UN Human Rights Council. Zvi Bar'el says Palestinians still don't see an Israeli partner for peace. Rachel Shabi says criticism of Israel is legitimate, but offensive cartoons are not. Alex Fishman says Israel's military action along the Lebanese-Syrian border was a calculated risk. Shlomo Ben-Ami says Israel's recent election took place inside a social and political bubble. Alon Ben David says Israeli investment in deterrence against Iran would be wise. Meir Javedanfar looks at Israel's and Iran's redlines on Syria. Peter Beinart asks why Arab parties are excluded from Israeli coalition talks. Time interviews Israeli political newcomer and power-broker Lapid. JNS interviews the controversial pro-Israel Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. Bernard Gwertzman of CFR interviews David Makovsky of WINEP about the recent Israeli election.

January 30th

NEWS: Israel has reportedly decided to make a single transfer of $100 million in Palestinian tax revenues to the PA. The PA complains the transfer is partial, and neither complete nor regular. Palestinians are facing a growing food crisis. Israel becomes the first country to boycott a review of its record by the UN Human Rights Council. The Lebanese military says Israeli warplanes have violated its airspace multiple times in the past day. The aircraft reportedly hit a target on the Lebanese-Syrian border. Palestinian factional fringe leader Said Musa Maragha dies at 86. Stanley Fischer says he is resigning as Governor of the Bank of Israel for "personal reasons." A Palestinian man is arrested for stabbing an Israeli youth in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians hope their narrative will spread with the Oscar nomination of the film "5 Broken Cameras." Palestinian police release suspects due to lack of evidence in arson attacks against alcohol-serving restaurants in the occupied West Bank. The PA says efforts by a university in Gaza to impose an "Islamic" dress code on female students are illegal. COMMENTARY: George Bisharat thinks the Palestinians should try to file charges against Israel at the ICC. Carlo Strenger says PM Netanyahu must watch the film "The Gatekeepers." Leon Hadar says a more forthcoming Israeli government would find a friend in the White House, especially if it included political newcomer Lapid. Former PM Olmert says, even though he's a long-standing supporter, he won't be attending Beitar games from now on because of the bigotry of its fans. The Jerusalem Post interviews new Palestinian MK Esawi Freige. Eddy Portnoy says Jewish activists should be careful about misapplying the term anti-Semitism. Peter Beinart looks at the debate about Israel in South Africa. Neri Zilber says many observers are underestimating Lapid. Jeffrey Goldberg says he has concluded Netanyahu won't make peace with the Palestinians. Matthew Norman says it's strange that many cannot differentiate between anti-Semitism and criticisms of Israeli policies and politicians. Shlomo Avineri says the new Israeli government should reengage with the peace process but with more modest aims than finding a two-state solution. Daniel Levy says Israel will only reengage with the peace process when the status quo becomes untenable, and this provides an opportunity for the second Obama administration.

January 29th

NEWS: Secularists appear to be rising in Israeli politics. Hamas and Fatah officials are expected to meet again in Egypt. PM Netanyahu meets with Quartet envoy Blair. Media mogul Murdoch apologizes for a cartoon critical of Netanyahu which many found offensive. Palestinian villagers are suing Israeli occupation authorities over military drills. Former deputy FM Beilin says Netanyahu might agree to a "provisional" Palestinian state. Some psychologists question whether Netanyahu and Pres. Obama can overcome their differences. Sources claim the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is pressing Hamas leader Mishaal not to step down, while others say some Arab states are pushing for him to chair the PLO. Occupation forces injure a man in northern Gaza. Israeli and Palestinian officials will meet to discuss Palestinian tax revenues. COMMENTARY: Roger Cohen interviews Amos Oz. Anshel Pfeffer says he doesn't find the Netanyahu cartoon to be anti-Semitic. Aluf Benn says the foundations of Netanyahu's rule remain very strong. Barak Ravid says Yesh Atid leader Lapid may not be as opposed to compromise on Jerusalem as he tries to seem. Shlomi Eldar says Lapid should call Pres. Abbas. Gershon Baskin says good governance and peacemaking go hand-in-hand. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed says Israel has a stake in a weakened Syria, which is almost certain to emerge from the current conflict. Omar Shaban says a new group of Palestinians is getting rich from tunnel smuggling. Gilead Sher says Israel is greatly in need of a two-state solution. Trudy Rubin says Israel's recent election didn't settle much.

January 28th

NEWS: Israel appears to be preparing for potential fallout from the conflict in Syria. Palestinian refugees are fleeing Syria in growing numbers. Pres. Abbas says he asked Israel to allow Palestinian refugees to be relocated to the occupied West Bank. A human rights group says Israel has frequently used excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators and violated its own rules of engagement. Israeli soccer fans object to their club adding Muslim players to the squad. The Israeli cabinet approves a plan for regulating Bedouin lands. Abbas addresses a summit of the African Union. Occupation forces arrest two Palestinians in the West Bank. Hamas says it will release a group of journalists it has been holding in Gaza. Hamas leader Mishaal will reportedly meet Jordan's King. Al-Aqsa University in Gaza says it will enforce an "Islamic" dress code on women so they "avoid attracting male desire”. Israel admits for the first time to having given Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth control injections without their knowledge or consent. Israel's withholding of Palestinian tax revenues is undermining Palestinian security services. Reports suggest Hamas is maintaining links to Iran despite differences over Syria. COMMENTARY: The Daily Beast interviews outgoing DM Barak, who suggests the US has military plans regarding Iran. Ha'aretz says Israeli soccer fans' bigotry is a reflection of broader Israeli society today. Ilan Baruch says Europe must recommit itself to the peace process. Adrian Daniels says Israelis who hope for a breakthrough on peace from their next government should prepare for disappointment. Smadar Peri says Palestinian officials are taking a keen interest in who will be the next Israeli FM. Elias Harfoush says Israel's election shows a society in denial. Michael Koplow argues the elections really showed Israel continuing to drift towards the right, and Rami Khouri agrees. Nasser Chararah says Hezbollah is pleased with the results of the Israeli election.

January 25th

NEWS: The fallout from the Israeli election, especially for PM Netanyahu, is being assessed. Many believe Netanyahu will be forced to try to form a centrist coalition, and some reports indicate he may have offered political newcomer Lapid a choice between the ministries of foreign affairs or finance. The election again demonstrates the alienation of Palestinian citizens of Israel from its political system, although their 56% turnout was bigger than expected. Israel says it will boycott a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council on its own record. Secretary of State-designate Kerry says it would be "disastrous" to fail to reach a two-state peace agreement. Jordan's King Abdullah says, if no progress is made, a two-state solution will only be viable for the duration of Pres. Obama second term. Hamas organizes paramilitary training for teenagers in Gaza. Palestinian protesters reconstruct a protest tent city in northwest Jerusalem. PA finance minister Qassis says the government's fiscal crisis is "structural." Israeli security services report that in 2012, for the first time since 1973, no Israeli was killed in any "terror attack" in the occupied West Bank. COMMENTARY: Alon Idan explains how, through a process of radicalization, extreme Zionists actually become anti-Zionists. Gideon Levy and Alex Levac trace the details of the killing of a Palestinian youth by occupation soldiers. Ben Caspit says, at least in terms of image, Lapid seems to be "the perfect Israeli." Michael Cohen says the Israeli election leaves Obama little to work with on pursuing a two-state solution. J.J. Goldberg says Lapid faces as many political challenges as Netanyahu. George Hishmeh says if Obama doesn't prioritize it, a two-state solution may become impossible. David Gardner says the annexationist right in Israel has been strengthened. Hassan Barari says Netanyahu is weakened and left with a precarious balancing act. Meir Javedanfar says the election won't affect Israel's Iran policies. Murat Yetkin says a new, more centrist, Israeli government could repair relations with Turkey.

January 24th

NEWS: The New York Times profiles Israel's new political star, Yair Lapid. Relations between Pres. Obama and PM Netanyahu may thaw following Israel's election. The vote is seen as strengthening Obama's hand with Netanyahu. Hamas reportedly detains six journalists in Gaza. Israel arrests two senior PA officials in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinians say if Israel goes ahead with building in E1 and other sensitive areas of the occupied West Bank, they will have no choice but to file a complaint with the ICC. Palestinian witnesses accuse Israeli soldiers of killing a 22-year-old Palestinian woman "in cold blood." Hamas leader Haniyeh invites the Palestinian election commission to resume working in Gaza. PLO officials say they will invite Israelis for talks before the next Israeli government is formed. Amb. Rice says the US doesn't recognize the use of the term "State of Palestine" following last year's UN vote. COMMENTARY: The New York Times urges Obama to reengage Middle East peace, but spend the requisite political capital and lay the groundwork. Roger Cohen sees real signs of hope in the Israeli election outcome. Xinhua interviews PLO official Mohamed Ishteyah. Benedetta Berti says the Israeli election could provide the basis for improved policies towards the Palestinians. Chemi Shalev says any new centrist Israeli coalition will be quickly undone by Palestinian issues. Avner Gvaryahu says Israeli occupation forces have rules of engagement in the occupied Palestinian territories, but these are superseded by the need to dominate another people. The Forward says Netanyahu now has the final vote in the Israeli election: forming a coalition. Rachel Shabi says Lapid's strong showing in the election is a victory of celebrity over substance. The Daily Star argues it makes little difference to Palestinians who wins Israel's elections. Aaron David Miller says Obama and Netanyahu are now forced to try to get along with each other.

January 23rd

NEWS: The underperformance of PM Netanyahu's factions in the Israeli elections is seen as a rebuke by voters. Political novice Lapid is widely viewed as the big winner in the vote, with 19 seats, and as the new kingmaker. Palestinians say they are planning new outreach to the Israeli public, and say any new Israeli government should be evaluated according to its policies. A 21-year-old Palestinian woman is shot and killed by occupation forces near Hebron, and a teenage girl dies of her wounds in Bethlehem. Hamas officials say they agree Pres. Abbas can head a new unity government. Abbas says he is willing to talk to any Israeli government that recognizes Palestinian statehood. COMMENTARY: Tom Friedman suggests a series of steps, including on Israeli-Palestinian issues, for the incoming Secretary of State. Crispian Balmer thinks the close vote in Israel may constrain Netanyahu's foreign policy options, assuming he remains PM. Jack Khoury says Israel's Arab citizens can't help but feel they've lost an opportunity in this election. Amos Harel says Israel's new government will probably have two priorities: the role of the ultra-Orthodox in society and Iran. Aluf Benn explains why, as he predicted, political newcomer Lapid outperformed expectations while Netanyahu underperformed them. Jeffrey Goldberg asks if the results can help the peace process. Raja Shehadeh says the election means little for most Palestinians. Ron Kampeas says Pres. Obama is likely to see more Israeli support for a two-state solution in the results. The National says the vote shows an ambivalent Israeli public, which offers opportunities for the Palestinians. Faisal Al Yafai worries that Israelis and Palestinians are too divided internally to make agreements with each other. Zvika Krieger says Israel's next election will be more important than this one.

January 22nd

NEWS: PM Netanyahu is expected to win today's election in Israel. A candidate from the right wing "Jewish Home" party generates controversy with comments imagining "blowing up" Muslim holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem. The Arab League urges Palestinian citizens of Israel to vote. Palestinians say they see no hope for peace in Israel's election. UK FM Hague says without progress this year, "people will increasingly conclude that a two state solution has become impossible." The Malaysian PM is visiting Gaza. Three protesters are injured by Palestinian security services during a disturbance at a refugee camp near Ramallah. Netanyahu's relationship with Obama is expected to remain tense. The UN says trauma and PTSD have more than doubled in Gaza since the November conflict. The Economist looks at a new film about the looting of Palestinian libraries in 1948. COMMENTARY: The Washington Post urges the Obama administration to press Netanyahu to form a centrist coalition. Bernard Avishai and Sam Bahour say the parties desperately need American leadership and the second Obama term provides a huge opportunity. Sefi Rachlevsky says it's pointless voting for Netanyahu. Eitan Haber says Israelis must look for "the best of a bad lot." Gershon Baskin says Israelis are celebrating their democracy. Aluf Benn says the biggest beneficiary will probably be political newcomer Yair Lapid. Douglas Feith argues that Israelis aren't turning to the right, they're just recognizing there is no Palestinian peace partner, while Linda Heard sees Israelis as preferring aggressive policies over peace. Hussein Ibish says superficial Palestinian "unity" deals shouldn't come at the expense of vital institution-building policies.

January 18th

NEWS: The New York Times looks at the use of TV in Israel's election. Right-wing parties appear to have a commanding lead in the polls, but PM Netanyahu might try to form a coalition with political centrists. Some Palestinians despair over the prospect of another Netanyahu victory. Netanyahu pledges that if he is elected, no settlements in the occupied West Bank will be dismantled. The rise of extremist politician Naftali Bennett may have little to do with his annexation plans. A joint Jewish-Arab party in Israel is trying to make headway. Some analysts believe the economy, not peace issues, will dominate the agenda of the next Israeli government. Officials from Hamas and Fatah say they have agreed on a timetable for implementing reconciliation agreements. The Palestinian Election Commission says it still waiting for permission to resume operating in Gaza. 12 Palestinian refugees are killed in Syria. PM Fayyad says the PA's fiscal crisis is gradually improving. Contradicting some other security officials, senior occupation officers say they don't think another intifada is brewing. Israel may be quietly backing away from highly controversial settlement expansion plans. COMMENTARY: The Jerusalem Post interviews Netanyahu. Noam Sheizaf looks at the fragmentation of the Israeli left. Jonathan Tepperman profiles DM Barak. Roger Cohen says historically there is no right of return for refugees. Dov Waxman says Jewish Americans aren't going to abandon Israel. Yossi Sarid says there is a culture of lying in the Israeli military that no politicians have succeeded, and few have tried, to rectify. Hassan Barari thinks Pres. Obama will be too focused on domestic issues to confront Netanyahu on peace. Dalia Hatuqa says, despite constant criticism of settlement activity, trade with Europe actually sustains settlements. Daniel Birnbaum complains about the treatment of Palestinians at Pres. Peres' house. Hussein Ibish says columnist Jeffrey Goldberg has been subjected to unfair attacks by both the extreme left and right.

January 17th

NEWS: An Israeli NGO says PM Netanyahu settlement policies are clearly aimed at thwarting the creation of a Palestinian state, as approval for new settlement units increased 300% in 2012. Israel's separation barrier is spurring wildcat construction projects in Palestinian areas beyond its route. Left-wing parties in Israel are hoping to regain popularity by focusing on economic issues. If he wins the election, Netanyahu's choice of coalition partners will be a major factor in shaping Israel's foreign policy. Palestinian activists attempt to return to their protest site in the area of the highly controversial E1 settlement project. Hamas and Fatah officials will meet again in Cairo to discuss national reconciliation. Remarks attributed to Pres. Obama about Netanyahu raise controversy in Israel. An Israeli military investigation finds that 80 bullets were fired without justification in the killing of a Palestinian by occupation forces. Palestinian activists launch a new reading campaign during long taxi rides. Palestinians say a youth killed by occupation forces in the famed protest village of Budrus was shot in the back while fleeing. A pro-Palestinian activist is suing Air France for denying her passage on a flight to Israel. COMMENTARY: Anshel Pfeffer takes issue with some of David Remnick's portrayal of extremist Israeli politician Naftali Bennett. Chemi Shalev says it's not Obama who is intervening in Israel's elections, it's reality. Ha'aretz says Israel should listen to Obama's warnings. Orly Azoulay says Obama is settling scores with a hostile Israeli leadership. Amnon Be'eri-Sulitzeanu says moderate parties in Israel can't form a powerful coalition without Israel's Palestinian citizens. The Jerusalem Post says Palestinian citizens of Israel should vote for more pragmatic leaders. Barry Rubin says both Israelis and Palestinians are now likely to be mainly spectators in the transformation of the broader Middle East. Two prominent Israeli and Palestinian religious leaders say they have a responsibility to change mindsets. Ben Caspit says Obama intends to revive the peace process and deal with the Iranian nuclear file. Hazem Balousha thinks recent statements by Hamas leaders show more flexibility towards Israel. Daniel Levy says the Israeli election lacks any defining issue.

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