February 28th

NEWS: Two hunger striking Palestinian prisoners have agreed to end their fast as Israel says it will release them in May. (Reuters) Pres. Abbas says Israeli settlement construction in the "E1" area is a Palestinian "red line." (Jerusalem Post) PM Netanyahu demands "military sanctions" against Iran. (Reuters) Hamas addresses the Yasser Arafat Foundation in Cairo for the first time on the subject of reconciliation. (Ma'an) The PA economy minister welcomes an EU report recommending sanctions against Israeli settlement activity. (Ma'an) The Israeli press reports a breakthrough in Netanyahu's coalition negotiations to form a new government. (Xinhua) Israeli police insist that Palestinians fabricated a reported "price tag" arson attack on cars last week. (Xinhua) The PA says it has secured the release of four Palestinian teenagers detained by Israel on Wednesday. (Ma'an) Evidence continues to mount that Israeli-Turkish relations are improving, despite the fact that PM Erdogan has described Zionism as "a crime against humanity" at a UN meeting. (Xinhua/Ha'aretz) Israel is using the Bible to reach out to evangelical Christians as far away as Brazil. (CSM) The Oxford University Student Union votes down a measure endorsing a boycott against Israel. (Ha'aretz) Palestinian fishermen are mystified as hundreds of ray fish wash up on the shores of Gaza. (The Independent) Some Palestinians are trying to encourage food self-sufficiency. (IPS) Some Israeli experts see no real sign of change in Egypt's foreign policy towards Israel and the Palestinians under Pres. Morsi, despite some changes in rhetoric. (Jerusalem Post)

COMMENTARY: Allen Weiner says Israel and the Palestinians need American mediation. (New York Times) Jonathan Schanzer says Palestinians need a succession plan and Abbas needs an heir apparent. (LA Times) Gideon Levy says it's ironic that Israelis, who were so upset by the captivity of a single soldier, seem incapable of understanding Palestinian outrage about thousands of detainees in Israeli jails. (Ha'aretz) Shlomi Eldar says Israel needs to reconsider its policy of administrative detention of Palestinians. (Al Monitor) Matthew Duss looks at the prospects for a third intifada. (The American Prospect) Roger Cohen says although a single state is not going to emerge, the prospects for two states for Israel and the Palestinians are dwindling fast. (New York Times) Eitan Haber says, whether he admits it or not, Pres. Obama is coming to the region with an agenda. (YNet) Sara Hirschhorn says Israelis have to rid themselves of the notion that settlements are irreversible or face a one-state future. (Ha'aretz) Shlomo Cohen says Israel is unfairly taking advantage of Diaspora Jewry. (Ha'aretz) Andy Bachman says BDS rhetoric should be challenged, but not censored, but Martin Raffel says it amounts to hate speech. (JTA) Nathan Guttman looks at different advice offered to Obama in new books by Daniel Kurtzer and Elliott Abrams. (The Forward) George Hishmeh says Obama has a duty to tell Israel it cannot continue with business as usual towards the Palestinians. (Gulf News)

NEWS: The situation on the ground in the occupied territories calms somewhat, as experts say neither the PA nor Hamas are looking for an escalation. (Ha'aretz/Ma'an) Some experts believe both sides will continue to use contained, low-level disturbances to keep up the pressure until Pres. Obama's visit in March. (AFP) Israel hints that, in order to enhance credibility, it may include foreign observers in its own probe into whether a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody died due to torture. (Jerusalem Post) The Palestinian teachers union says it is calling off a planned general strike protesting non-payment of salaries. (Ma'an) The PA says it will pay the remaining half of January salaries today. (PNN) Pres. Abbas says any peace agreement must involve the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. (Ma'an) Hamas insists no rocket was fired from Gaza into southern Israel. (Xinhua) An Egyptian court rules that the government must destroy all smuggling tunnels to and from Gaza. (Reuters) Another Egyptian court throws out a case against the peace treaty with Israel, but the FJP says it's still wants to amend the agreement to allow more Egyptian forces in Sinai. (Al-Masry Al-Youm) Israeli officials say unexploded tank shells from Syria land in the occupied Golan Heights. (AP) Israel returns six wounded Syrians to their country after medical treatment. (AP) Palestinians welcome an EU report recommending sanctions against Israeli settlements. (Xinhua/The Media Line) Pres. Peres says he will lead an effort to urge Obama to release convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. (AP) A Jewish Israeli mob reportedly attacks a Palestinian woman at a rail station in Jerusalem. (Ma'an) A Palestinian American who lives in the occupied West Bank has been repeatedly denied entry into Israel despite having a valid visa. (Ha'aretz)

COMMENTARY: Yaakov Lappin says Israeli officials have concluded that ensuring Palestinian security forces are paid on time is essential for maintaining calm in the occupied West Bank. (Jerusalem Post) Dalia Hatuqa argues that, in the long run, there is an untenable tension between ongoing occupation and PA security coordination with Israel. (The National) Amira Hass asks why a third intifada hasn't broken out yet. (Ha'aretz) Paul Pilar says if there is a third intifada, the United States should take advantage of it. (The National Interest) Ben Caspit says it's not Abbas who is a weak leader, it's Israel's leadership that is weak. (Al Monitor) Carlo Strenger says Israel isn't being delegitimized, the settlements are. (Ha'aretz) Ori Nir says textbooks don't shape worldviews, lived reality of occupation does. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Zvi Bar'el looks at the role of Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen in the prisoner issue and Israeli security generally. (Ha'aretz) Asmaa al-Ghoul says among Palestinians demands are growing for third parties other than Hamas and Fatah to contest future elections. (Al Monitor) Shai Feldman looks at the tough task facing Obama, Sec. Kerry or anyone else who wants to launch a new Middle East peace effort. (The National Interest)

February 26th

NEWS: Two Palestinian teenagers are injured by Israeli gunfire at another protest in the occupied West Bank. (New York Times) Dozens are injured in additional protests. (Ma'an) A rocket fired from Gaza lands in southern Israel for the first time since last year's truce. (Reuters) Israel seals Gaza border crossings in response to the rocket attack. (Ma'an) Israeli officials say Iran has set up a camp of missile experts in Gaza. (Ha'aretz) Israel and some other observers fear the death of a Palestinian prisoner in custody and other pressures may lead to another intifada. (Reuters/CSM) The dead prisoner is buried by Palestinians with honors, as both sides appear to be trying to prevent further unrest. (Washington Post) The PA says an autopsy shows the prisoner died following extensive torture in Israeli detention. (Ma'an) The UN calls for an independent inquiry into the prisoner's death. (AFP) Pres. Abbas orders Palestinian security to maintain order despite provocations, and says Israel wants to provoke chaos. (Ha'aretz/Ma'an) Palestinian prisoners end their hunger strike over the death of their fellow detainee. (Xinhua) Israeli authorities order hunger striking Palestinian prisoners hospitalized after 28 days. (Ha'aretz) Israel bans Palestinian construction near the West Bank separation barrier for "security reasons." (Xinhua) UN officials declare the two-state solution to be on "life support." (Ha'aretz) Sec. Kerry says Pres. Obama plans to "listen" to Israeli and Palestinian leaders during his upcoming trip, not present a US peace plan. (Reuters) With the help of the UN, Palestinians establish their first national disaster loss database. (UN)

COMMENTARY: The National says peaceful Palestinian protests could prove a potent challenge to Israel's unsustainable occupation. (The National) Bradley Burston says just as Lincoln abolished slavery, Israel must abolish the occupation. (Ha'aretz) Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat recounts his difficult journey from Palestine to Hollywood for the recent Academy Awards. (Huffington Post) The Jerusalem Post argues Palestinians should be more upset about journalists in Palestinian detention rather than Palestinians in Israeli detention. (Jerusalem Post) Philip Stephens says PM Netanyahu's apparent eagerness for a conflict with Iran spurs the impression he is more interested in war than peace. (Gulf News) Ali Hashem says Israel and Hezbollah prefer a shadow war of assassinations and terrorism to any direct confrontation across the border. (Al Monitor) Omar Barghouti explains his understanding of the BDS movement. (New York Daily News) Brent Sasley says Sen. Marco Rubio needs a lesson in peace process history. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

February 25th

NEWS: Palestinians say an autopsy shows Arafat Jaradat, a 30 year old prisoner who died in Israeli custody, was tortured, while Israel insists he passed away from a heart attack. (Ma'an/New York Times) Palestinians demand an international inquiry into Jaradat's death, and into conditions for Palestinians in Israeli prisons generally. (New York Times/AP) Palestinians across the occupied territories protest in support of prisoners. (Xinhua) Dozens are injured in West Bank clashes over the prisoner's death. (Ma'an) Israeli settlers shoot two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. (AP) The Israeli military says it's preparing for a potential third Palestinian uprising, as its forces go on high alert throughout the occupied territories. (Xinhua/Washington Post) Israel demands the PA suppress Palestinian demonstrations. (Reuters) A Fatah official says "Israeli arrogance" may indeed result in a third intifada. (Ma'an) Hamas calls for the capturing of more Israeli soldiers by armed Palestinian groups. (Ma'an) In a letter to its US sponsors, Palestinians protest the route of the Jerusalem Marathon. (New York Times) Hamas bans a Fatah official from leaving Gaza. (Xinhua) A Hamas court cuts in half the sentence for the murderer of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni from 10 to 5 years. (AFP) Egypt seizes 20,000 liters of fuel being smuggled into Gaza. (Ma'an) The US and Israel say they have successfully tested the Arrow anti-missile system for the first time. (AP) A Palestinian citizen of Israel in Haifa, who is a noted artist, is using his work to try to save an elderly refugee relative in Syria by finally bringing her home. (Ha'aretz) There are signs of a slow but steady reconciliation between Israel and Turkey. (The Media Line)

COMMENTARY: Chaim Levinson says West Bank demonstrations are not yet a third intifada. (Ha'aretz) Zvi Bar'el says the protests are in place of negotiations that were never held. (Ha'aretz) Dalia Hatuqa says the PA may be trying to use the specter of a third intifada to pressure Israel. (Al Monitor) Amos Harel says Israel is trying to calm the situation, and whether a third intifada breaks out or not depends on how the PA handles the situation. (Ha'aretz) Shlomi Eldar says Pres. Abbas is also trying to calm the situation and offers the best hope for avoiding a third intifada. (Al Monitor) Ha'aretz says Israel has no choice but to deal seriously with Palestinian issues if it wants to avoid a third intifada. (Ha'aretz) Khaled Abu Toameh says some think Abbas and other PA leaders may have an interest in escalating tensions with Israel. (Jerusalem Post) Hassan Barari says PM Netanyahu's coalition building efforts may backfire. (Arab News) Michael Ross looks at why Israel's "Prisoner X" might have committed suicide. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Sharif Nashashibi looks at how Pres. Morsi's government is much tougher on Hamas in many ways than Pres. Mubarak's was. (Al Arabiya)

February 22nd

NEWS: An Israeli court orders a hunger striking Palestinian prisoner released sometime in the next two weeks when his eight-month sentence is concluded, but he may continue his fast anyway. (Reuters) Palestinian security forces are struggling to maintain order, but are facing many challenges, including from Israel. (The Media Line) Israeli police in Jerusalem are reportedly beefing up their presence in preparation for more protests in support of hunger strikers. (Ma'an) The Israeli military is preparing for possible action along the Syrian border. (CSM) Israel is reportedly pressuring the UN to ensure no criticism of its policies in an upcoming report by UNSG Ban on the upgrade of Palestine's status to nonmember observer state. (Xinhua) Jordan says it will continue to work to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. (Xinhua) Palestinian officials reiterate that negotiations can only begin in the context of a settlement freeze. (Ma'an) A Hezbollah operative on trial in Cyprus says he was told to track Israeli flights. (New York Times) A youth in Gaza who immolated himself in front of a Hamas headquarters was apparently protesting against officials in the building. (Xinhua) The EU renews its support for mental health improvement in Gaza. (PNN) PM Fayyad condemns attacks against Palestinian electricity poles in the occupied West Bank, apparently by Israeli settlers. (PNN) A new batch of Israeli documents about the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres are released, but portions regarding the activities of the Israeli military remain heavily censored. (Ha'aretz) Then-DM Sharon said at the time that the Sabra and Shatila report could allow Israel to be accused of genocide. (YNet) Residents of an Arab neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem appeared to be left without health care. (YNet) A new poll suggests that Yesh Atid would crush Likud in new elections. (Jerusalem Post) The BBC looks at two Oscar-nominated films about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (BBC) The only music school in Gaza faces closure due the lack of funds. (Al Monitor) The PA, the EU and the UN are holding a conference in the West Bank on improving the quality of teaching in Palestinian schools. (PNN)

COMMENTARY: Yossi Verter says PM Netanyahu suspects political newcomers Bennett and Lapid of plotting to overthrow him. (Ha'aretz) Linda Gradstein looks at why it's taking so long to form a new Israeli governing coalition. (The Media Line) Anshel Pfeffer says the "Prisoner X" scandal shows Israel has to stop stealing identities. (Ha'aretz) The Jerusalem Post interviews former Deputy FM Ayalon, who says former FM Lieberman's tenure was "a failure," and "it would be wrong" for him to regain the position. (Jerusalem Post) Uriel Halbreich thinks a confederation between Israel, Jordan and Palestine is the best way forward. (Jerusalem Post) Uri Savir says that for peace to be sustained, all mainstream constituencies must buy into and be included in it. (Jerusalem Post) Amy Goodman says the two Oscar-nominated films about the conflict will change the public dialogue on Israel and Palestine. (The Guardian) Adina Friedman says Morocco offers an example of good relations between Arabs and Jews. (The Daily Star) Akiva Eldar interviews Marwan Muasher on the urgent need for an American initiative on Israeli-Palestinian peace. (Al Monitor) Mick LaSalle calls the Oscar-nominated film "The Gatekeepers" revealing. (San Francisco Chronicle) Alon Ben-Meir looks at the perils of mutual delegitimization between Israel and the Palestinians. (Huffington Post)

February 21st

NEWS: Palestinian protesters supporting hunger striking prisoners clash with Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank. (AP) Mustafa Barghouti says the death of a hunger striker could lead to another intifada. (YNet) A new poll finds that a huge majority of Palestinians want new elections immediately, and support for Fatah remain steady but Hamas' numbers have declined. (PNN) A trial reveals much about Hezbollah's operations in Europe, including looking for Israeli targets. (New York Times) Egypt says it is determined to stop the flow of weapons between Gaza and Sinai, and is reportedly flooding smuggling tunnels with sewage. (New York Times) Hamas says it will not accept any agreement that includes a ban on arms smuggling. (Xinhua) Israeli forces are training for potential subterranean warfare with Hezbollah. (Jerusalem Post) Fatah officials are reportedly angered by indirect Israeli-Hamas negotiations. (Jerusalem Post) A Gaza resident immolates himself outside a Hamas headquarters. (Ma'an) Israel approves drilling for oil in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. (AP) The Netanyahu government is deeply uncomfortable with two Oscar-nominated films on the conflict, "The Gatekeepers" and "5 Broken Cameras." (Reuters) Israeli officials fear US budget cuts might mean a loss of military aid. (Xinhua) DFLP chief Hawatmeh is lightly injured in a bomb explosion in Damascus. (Ma'an) Settlers are accused of torching six Palestinian cars near Nablus. (Ma'an) Witnesses say Israeli occupation forces shot one man and detained two others near Jenin. (Ma'an) Palestinians say they have little confidence that new Israeli justice minister Livni, who is also in charge of negotiations, will be able to have much of an impact on Israel's policies towards them. (The National) Senior PLO and Israeli officials are visiting Washington in preparation for Pres. Obama's upcoming Middle East trip. (JTA)

COMMENTARY: Jeffrey Heller says Livni will face an uphill struggle to make any progress on peace with the Palestinians. (Reuters) Adam Gonn says Netanyahu is taking a risk including Livni in his new government. (Xinhua) Ian Black says Livni "won't be a fig leaf" for Netanyahu if he doesn't want peace. (The Guardian) The National says it fears the new Israeli coalition, including Livni, is indeed a missed opportunity. (The National) The LA Times interviews Likud party centrist figure Meridor. (LA Times) Ari Shavit says if the Bennett-Lapid alliance continues, there will be no let up in settlement activity and it will be very bad for peace. (Ha'aretz) Gideon Levy says before anybody starts talking about the "peace process" again, serious confidence building measures are urgently required. (Ha'aretz) Gershon Baskin insists Israeli-Palestinian peace is still possible. (Jerusalem Post) Paul Hirschson says Israeli-Arab business relations are good for peace. (Jerusalem Post) Jay Michaelson says trying to censor views critical of Israel backfires. (The Forward) George Hishmeh says if Obama does not seize the initiative on peace in his second term, it may be a final opportunity squandered. (Gulf News) Joseph Kechichian says Obama must realize that nothing can advance US interests in the Middle East like the creation of a Palestinian state. (Gulf News) Michael Jansen thinks Pres. Morsi is "playing the Israeli and US game" in Gaza. (Jordan Times)

February 20th

NEWS: Sec. Kerry is making his first trip to Europe and the Middle East, but will not visit Israel. Tzipi Livni will reportedly serve as Justice Minister in the next Netanyahu cabinet, and may be put in charge of negotiations with Palestinians. Palestinian prisoners stage a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with more long-term hunger strikers Residents of a Palestinian village accuse Israeli occupation authorities of systematic harassment.Israel informs the PA of new facilities for the transfer of commercial goods into Gaza. Israel releases part of its internal report into the death of "Prisoner X." The Palestinian co-director of the Oscar-nominated film "5 Broken Cameras" is reportedly detained at Los Angeles Airport on his way to the Academy Awards. Egypt is reportedly brokering talks between Hamas and Israel on humanitarian issues. Pres. Abbas meets Pres. Al-Hadi in a visit to Yemen. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee appoints Arne Christenson as managing director for policy and politics.

COMMENTARY: Nahum Barnea says Livni had no choice but to join the Netanyahu coalition. Yossi Verter says as long as Netanyahu is Prime Minister, Livni will have to deal with the Palestinians his way. Ben Caspit says, as long as there is a conflict, Israeli military censorship is a necessary evil. Amira Hass says Israeli military law treats Palestinians living under occupation as guilty until proven innocent. Ha'aretz says the arrest of 14 Palestinians who had been released as part of the Shalit deal is draconian. Gil Troy says people should stop using the terms "pro-" and "anti-" Israel so casually. Ahmed Othman says Pres. Obama is avoiding the Palestinian issue, in part because the Palestinians are so divided. Hazem Saghieh says those who talk about "the road to Palestine" being through some other Arab agenda are cynical exploiters of the issue. Rami Khouri says Obama and Kerry should listen carefully to the Arabs, especially on Palestine. Issandr El Amrani looks at Egypt's dilemma over Gaza.

February 19th

NEWS: ATFP celebrates its 10th anniversary and announces its Seventh Annual Gala on October 23, 2013. (ATFP) Israel and the Palestinians are intensifying diplomatic activity with the United States in preparation for Pres. Obama's visit to the region. (Jerusalem Post) Israelis are being asked to choose their favorite logo for the Obama visit on PM Netanyahu's Facebook page. (AFP) Former FM Lieberman pleads not guilty in a fraud case. (New York Times) Israel treats five Syrians injured in the Civil War. (Reuters) Jordan denies it has been importing gas from Israel. (Xinhua) A Palestinian prisoner is continuing what is the purportedly longest-ever hunger strike by any detainee, as Israel reportedly detains his brother. (Xinhua/Ahram Online) A Gaza engineer reportedly held in isolation by Israel for over two years is reportedly losing his ability to speak. (Ma'an) The PLO criticizes an ill-fated visit to Bulgaria by a delegation from Hamas. (Xinhua) Hamas officials confirm they are in indirect negotiations with Israel. (Ma'an) Teachers become the latest group of Palestinian public employees to stage a strike. (Ma'an) Palestinian farmers are struggling in the occupied West Bank. (The National) Israeli officials say only "a handful" of prisoners are being held without public knowledge. (Ha'aretz) The surprise alliance between Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett is greatly complicating efforts by Netanyahu to form a new coalition. (LA Times) Netanyahu hints he wants the broadest coalition to push forward on peace with the Palestinians. (Ha'aretz) Israelis are luring Christian tourists with "Holy Land hikes" on the "Jesus Trail." (CSM) The Gaza blockade is snuffing out the area's camel industry. (Al Monitor) Israel says it will return Palestinian farmland to its owners after trying to grant it to a Jewish kibbutz. (Ha'aretz) Hamas condemns Egypt's flooding of Gaza smuggling tunnels. (Al Arabiya/AFP) COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish asks how long the charade of Palestinian national unity talks can continue. (The National) Thomas Donilon says Hezbollah revealed its true face in the bombing of an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria. (New York Times) Aluf Benn says Netanyahu might be interested in recognizing a provisional Palestinian state along the lines of the status quo, but this won't be stable. (Ha'aretz) Al-Ahram interviews Egyptian writer Ali Salem. (Ha'aretz) Robert Fattal says Israeli policies are helping Palestinian secure a demographic majority in the areas under Israel's control. (YNet) Yitzhak Laor says the Israeli media is excited about the secret detention of the late Ben Zygier, but indifferent to analogous Palestinian secret detainees. (Ha'aretz) Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed says the Prisoner X scandal shows Israel is being ruled by those with out of date mentalities. (Asharq Al- Awsat) Ben Lynfield says Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens are deeply divided over MK Zoabi. (The Forward) Tariq Al Maeena says Washington should beware of undue pro-Israel influence. (Gulf News) Emily Hauser says Palestinian media appear woefully slow to understand what anti-Semitism is and how much damage it causes. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Hassan Barari says, as long as there is no real "peace camp" in Israel, Lieberman is right that conflict management is all that can be accomplished. (Arab News) Shlomi Eldar says hunger striking Palestinian prisoners are invisible to almost all Jewish Israelis. (Al Monitor) Sharif Nashashibi asks why Palestinians are hesitating to try to file charges against Israel at the ICC.

NEWS: Palestinian officials urge Pres. Obama personally to kickstart the resumption of peace negotiations. (Ha'aretz) Palestinian protesters rally in solidarity of hunger striking prisoners. (Ma'an) Israel orders an emergency court hearing for hunger striking Palestinian prisoner Samer Al-Issawi. (Ahram Online) Palestinian officials say Israel is continuing to withhold their tax revenues. (Ma'an) Palestinians extend voter registration for two more days. (Xinhua) PM Netanyahu comes under criticism for his annual ice cream budget. (New York Times) Obama will become the first sitting US president to receive Israel's Presidential Medal of Distinction. (New York Times) An outcry erupts over a photo of a Palestinian child in the crosshairs of an Israeli soldier's rifle. (Reuters) A teenage girl in Nazareth is hospitalized after a middle-aged man threw acid in her face when she rejected his marriage proposal. (Jerusalem Post) An influx of cash from Qatar is helping to stabilize the situation in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post) Israelis are seeing a strong continuity between the policies of Pres. Morsi and his predecessor Mubarak. (Al Monitor) Many international NGOs won't work in Gaza because of Hamas' designation as a terrorist organization. (Al Monitor)

COMMENTARY: Head PLO mission in Washington Maen Areikat says the US must move to resolve the conflict, not manage it. (LA Times) Bradley Burston outlines the best and worst-case scenarios for peace from new Israeli governing coalitions. (Ha'aretz) Eric Yoffie says pro-settlement propaganda by the David Project only reinforces how dangerous the settlements really are. (Ha'aretz) Moshe Arens says Israel hopes for peace, but Pres. Abbas can't deliver it. (Ha'aretz) Amnon Shamosh says the release of Marwan Barghouti is crucial to saving the two-state solution. (YNet) David Newman says the push to recognize a university in the Israeli settlement of Ariel is a blow to Israeli higher education and efforts to prevent international boycotts. (Jerusalem Post) Aluf Benn says censorship in the Israeli media is widespread. (Gulf News) Akiva Eldar says the "temporary" Oslo agreements are the biggest obstacle to real permanent status agreements. (Al Monitor) Tom Dan says Israel is quickly losing support among young American Democrats. (Ha'aretz)

February 15th

NEWS: Report suggests that the late Prisoner X held secretly in Israel may have been part of a Mossad assassination squad that killed a Hamas operative in Dubai. (New York Times) Sources say Prisoner X is not the only "security prisoner" to have disappeared in the Israeli prison system. (YNet) Mossad appears to be becoming more secretive than ever. (The Independent) Palestinians protesting in support of hunger striking prisoners clash with Israeli occupation forces. (AP) Pres. Abbas urges international support for hunger striking Palestinian prisoners. (Oman Tribune) More Palestinian prisoners go on a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with other hunger striking prisoners (Xinhua) UN officials express concern over the fate of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners. (UN) A Swedish photographer wins the World Press Photo award for an image of the funeral of two Palestinian children killed in an Israeli missile attack. (AP) Two Palestinians are injured by Israeli gunfire in northern Gaza. (Ma'an) A Palestinian worker is stabbed to death at a construction site in Israel. (YNet) Four Israeli border guards are convicted of abusing a mentally disabled Palestinian. (YNet) Bulgaria expels a Hamas delegation from the country. (Xinhua) The Palestinian public sector employees union says the PA will pay salaries for January soon, but no exact date has been set. (Ma'an) Reports say Israeli and Egyptian officials meet to discuss security matters. (Jerusalem Post) An Israeli playing for an English soccer team is prevented from entering Dubai. (Jerusalem Post) COMMENTARY: Roger Cohen says PM Fayyad's institution-building policy has been a squandered opportunity, but created a new paradigm that will live on. (New York Times) Rami Livni says there can and should be a genuine Zionism of the Left. (Ha'aretz) Michael Cohen says the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearings show how dangerous it is to challenge the American orthodoxy on Israel. (The Guardian) The National says Egypt needs to provide Gaza with a new lifeline from the blockade. (The National) Zuheir Kseibati says Arabs were unpleasantly surprised not to hear the word Palestine or many other references to the Middle East in Pres. Obama's State of the Union address. (Al Hayat) George Hishmeh says Sec. Kerry is offering some signs of hope on American policy towards the peace process. (Gulf News) Frida Ghitis says Obama should have modest aims for his Middle East trip. (Miami Herald) Shlomi Eldar interviews Saeb Erekat, who says a settlement freeze is essential to restarting negotiations. (Al Monitor) Amos Harel says Israelis are oblivious to the very real possibility of another intifada. (Haaretz) Jennifer Jajeh profiles 1970s Palestinian militant Leila Khaled. (The National)

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