February 13th

NEWS: Pres. Obama is managing expectations on US efforts to rekindle Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Pres. Abbas welcomes the news of Obama's visit. Palestinian officials say Israel is continuing to withhold Palestinian tax revenues in contravention of long-standing agreements. Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, declares there can never be a Palestinian state in the "God-given" Land of Israel. Stateless Palestinians are buying citizenships from struggling Caribbean islands. Israel condemns North Korea's latest nuclear test. A new poll finds most Arab citizens of Israel are opposed to compulsory national service. Mossad is reportedly still using the passports of immigrants to Israel for clandestine operations in spite of promises not to. Mystery and speculation surround reports about the death of an unidentified prisoner in Israeli custody. Palestinian officials say Abbas is going to issue decrees establishing a new unity government and ordering new elections. The Palestinian Election Commission says 70,000 have registered to vote in Gaza. Hamas says it's going to demolish 75 Palestinian homes it claims have been built on public land. Palestinian MKs in Israel say they're going to raise the question of hunger striking prisoners. Palestinians complain a new exhibit of Herod the Great artifacts in Israel were mostly looted from occupied Palestinian lands. Palestinian farmers from Gaza attend an agricultural conference in southern Israel. The UN says the war in Syria has complicated what was already an emergency situation for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. COMMENTARY: David Keyes says Abbas and the PA are cracking down on dissent in an unacceptable manner. The Media Line interviews Nour Odeh, Director of the Palestinian Government Media Center. Bernard Avishai says Obama must take expectations about an intervention on peace seriously. Steven Cook argues there's almost nothing from Israel or the Palestinians for Sec. Kerry to work with. Akiva Eldar insists the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be managed, but must be resolved. Daniel Nisman says Israel's military strike against a target in Syria shows its strategic strength. Dmitry Shumsky says the Holocaust is being exploited to make the case that Israel has the right to deny self-determination to the Palestinians. Hillel Halkin says there is no reason to think Jewish settlements couldn't remain in a Palestinian state. Mira Sucharov describes what happens when a liberal Zionist watches the new film "5 Broken Cameras." Atef Abu Saif says Palestinians desperately need a new strategy and vision. Gershom Gorenberg says Judith Butler gets so many of her facts wrong it's impossible to take her intervention on Israel and the Palestinians seriously. Robert Blecher says the international community should focus on immediate needs in Jerusalem, rather than its long-term future. The Jerusalem Post thinks that in Syria "an Alawite-Shi’ite victory is not necessary [sic] the worst scenario for Israel."

February 5th

NEWS: The head of a new study of Israeli and Palestinian textbooks, Yale professor Bruce Wexler, says the Israeli government is clinging onto "a propaganda point they know to be false." PM Fayyad and MK Herzog warn of the potential financial collapse of the PA. The Syrian regime reportedly finds its options highly limited after an Israeli military strike, and the attack complicates the crisis in the country. The destruction of a Palestinian protest encampment by Israeli occupation forces was outside of their area of jurisdiction. Saudi Arabia announces a housing project in Gaza. Hamas leader Mishaal categorically denies reports that he endorsed a two-state solution. Palestinian women are opening more businesses in the occupied West Bank. The Bulgarian government is expected to blame Hezbollah and Iran for the bombing of an Israeli tour bus. Outgoing settler leader Danny Dayan declares a Palestinian state is "farther away than ever." The planned Palestinian housing community Rawabi is near completion. COMMENTARY: The New York Times says there is a more honest discussion about Israel and Israeli policies in Israel than in the United States. Xinhua interviews PA Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Adnan al-Husseini. Richard Cohen highly praises the new Israeli film, "The Gatekeepers." Chemi Shalev says the film is a harsh condemnation of willful denial. Michael McGough says it makes no sense to try to protect students at Brooklyn College, or any other university, from controversial speech. The CSM says a new study of Israeli and Palestinian textbooks shows the need to better educate students on both sides for peace. Tristram Hunt says maps that distort reality are an ancient phenomenon. Saeb Erekat says the UNHRC report on Israeli settlement activity should be enforced by the international community. Gershon Baskin says the coming months are critical in the quest for peace. Abeer Ayyoub says Hamas is pushing "Islamization" in Gaza. Omar Shaban outlines the social and political consequences of the PA's inability to meet salaries.

February 4th

NEWS: A new study undermines long-standing narratives that Palestinian textbooks teach hatred, in contrast to Israeli ones. The study says both sides have textbooks that privilege their own narratives but few instances of demonization. Israelis are reportedly unhappy with the study. PM Fayyad welcomes the study and calls on Israel to stop undermining its findings. Israel arrests 20 Hamas members in the occupied West Bank. Secretary of State Kerry is expected to visit Israel early in his tenure. A senior PLO official dismisses PM Netanyahu's call for a return to negotiations without preconditions. Palestinian despair appears to be growing in the aftermath of the recent Israeli election. Two more Palestinian refugees are killed by government forces in Syria. The OIC recommends the creation of a "financial safety net" for the PA. The LA Times profiles a Palestinian farmer now nominated for an Oscar. Jerusalem police begin a crackdown on Palestinian residents. The Media Line looks at nightlife in Ramallah. East Asian leaders are meeting with Fayyad in Japan to discuss aid to the PA. Egyptian authorities accuse Israel of fomenting a campaign of sabotage by the so-called "Black Bloc." COMMENTARY: Roger Cohen says Israelis are in a state of denial, and Palestinians are becoming invisible to them. Dmitry Shumsky says that in rejecting the idea of forming partnerships with Arab MKs, Lapid is rejecting Jewish values. Dov Weisglass warns that Israel is greatly imperiled by the lack of peace with the Palestinians. Rami Khouri says Defense Secretary nominee Hagel is paying for years of bad US foreign policy. Ben Caspit says Israel "changed the rules of the game" by attacking a target in Syria. Hazem Balousha says NGOs face difficulties operating in Gaza, not least with Hamas authorities. Nachman Shai says Israel was right to reject the "grotesquely biased" UNHRC report into its settlement activities.

February 1st

NEWS: Syria sends a letter to the UN asserting its right of self-defense against Israel. Israel may be considering another attack inside Syria. Israeli warplanes reportedly overfly southern Lebanon. Incoming Secretary of State Kerry is expected to move cautiously on Israeli-Palestinian peace. Palestinians in Gaza denounce chronic power shortages after a family is killed in a tragic fire. Israeli authorities claim to have disrupted a Hamas cell in the occupied West Bank planning to seize an Israeli soldier. The PLO is reportedly considering plans to join more multilateral agencies. An independent Palestinian politician claims Pres. Abbas is planning to convene a PLO "reform summit." The senior IDF officer in the West Bank tells occupation commanders to show "restraint" in dealing with Palestinians. Israel approves 364 new settlement housing units in the occupied West Bank. The head of the PA security services denounces an anti-corruption commission report as biased and "self-serving." COMMENTARY: The UN Human Rights Council issues a damning report on Israeli settlement activity. Barak Ravid says the new UN human rights report on Israel paves the way for more isolation and possible sanctions. Michael Doran says, despite invocations by Secretary of Defense-designate Hagel, the Suez crisis is no model for US-Israel relations. Rebecca Vilkomerson thinks the Hagel appointment is a sign of healthier US-Israel relations. Louis Fishman says Israeli-Turkish relations should be a priority. Talal Salman says Lebanon can learn from Israel's domestic policies. Ben Capsit explains what he thinks is the logic of the Syrian attack for PM Netanyahu. The National says neither Israel nor Syria stand to benefit from an expanded conflict. The Daily Star says both Israel and Syria have no shame. Leonard Fein says the rise of Israel's new political star, Yair Lapid, could end very quickly. Amal Al-Hazzani complains that Israelis are familiar with Arab culture while Arabs are almost entirely ignorant about Israel. George Hishmeh says Israel is creating Palestinian ghettos. Akiva Eldar says Israel is about to lose its long-standing narrative about Palestinian textbooks, given the findings of a new study. Geoffrey Aronson thinks Hamas is in a good position to take over the PLO. Rami Khouri doesn't think the Israeli electorate has shifted to the center. Matt Hill says a two-state solution is actually within reach if Israelis and Palestinians still want it.

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