March 29th

The PA cabinet approves PM Fayyad's new budget, passing the matter for approval to Pres. Abbas. (Ha'aretz)

Abbas pardons a Palestinian journalist for allegedly "insulting" him on Facebook, after one-year prison term was yesterday upheld by a Palestinian court. (Ma'an/New York Times/AP)

Israel is using archaic Ottoman laws to give "state lands" in the occupied West Bank to settlers and Israeli companies. (The National)

Christians in Jerusalem mark Good Friday. (AP)

Israel's military beefs up its presence in the occupied territories in preparation for Land Day. (Ma'an)

Occupation forces have detained over 50 Palestinians suspected of being members of a "terror cell" in the past two months. (Ha'aretz)

Israel deploys more military medical officers on the border between Syria and the occupied Golan Heights. (AP)

Israel reopens the border crossings with Gaza. (Xinhua)

Palestinians are having to confront the fact that dependence on foreign aid makes them vulnerable to unreliable sources. (CSM)

Two pro-Palestinian activists are allegedly gang raped in Libya. (Ma'an)

An Israeli soldier held captive by Hamas recounts the details of his capture and captivity. (Jerusalem Post)

Israel's Foreign Ministry is investigating who leaked cables about how to deal with the film "The Gatekeepers." (Ha'aretz)

A new poll shows a drop in the number of Jewish Israelis who view Pres. Obama as hostile. (Jerusalem Post)

Egypt is resuming efforts to promote Palestinian national unity. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Hussein Ibish looks at the complexities facing any potential Palestinian effort to get the ICC to investigate Israel's actions in the occupied territories. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

Dalia Hatuqa looks at the continued significance for Palestinians of Land Day. (Al Monitor)

Anna Lekas Miller looks at the impact of the release of long-withheld US aid to the PA. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

The Washington Post says Israeli-Turkish rapprochement is a ray of hope in an otherwise dismal Middle East. (Washington Post)

Eddie Boxx looks at the need for the United States to work with its Gulf partners to create a missile defense system, especially with Iran in mind. (WINEP)

Yoel Marcus says Obama didn't just go to Israel to reiterate friendship, but also the need for a peace agreement with the Palestinians and reconciliation with Turkey. (Ha'aretz)

Trudy Rubin says Obama gave a great speech in Jerusalem, but probably didn't mean a lot of what he said. (Jerusalem Post)

Charles Krauthammer says Obama's visit exposed Palestinian recalcitrance. (Washington Post)

Zeev Sternhell says Israel can get into wars by its own choice but has to be coerced into peace agreements, usually by the United States. (Ha'aretz)

Avraham Burg asks what comes next now that the Oslo process is "dead." (Ha'aretz)

The Jerusalem Post joins the chorus of Israelis demanding the government "get tough" with rock-throwing Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post)

Leonard Fein says the late New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis cared about Israel more than his critics. (The Forward)

The Forward says Jewish Israelis and other Jews are torn between fear and empathy. (The Forward)

George Hishmeh says Israel is becoming more isolated. (Jordan Times)

Pres. Obama's Middle East trip renews the debate over Israeli-Palestinian peace. (VOA)

Israel admits that less than 1% of what it deems "state lands" in the occupied West Bank have been allocated to Palestinian use. (Ha'aretz)

Turkey is reportedly now pushing for accelerated Palestinian unity talks. (Ha'aretz)

The PA reportedly opposes a visit to Gaza by PM Erdogan. (Jerusalem Post)

The World Bank is planning a "microwork" project in the occupied West Bank to try to create 55,000 new part-time Palestinian jobs. (Jerusalem Post)

Hamas leader Misha'al accuses Obama of retreating on the issue of settlements. (Ma'an)

Hamas leader Zahar pledges the organization will not interfere in Egyptian affairs, and claims other Palestinians are spreading false rumors about this. (Ma'an/Ahram Online)

Israel reopens Gaza border crossings. (AP/AFP)

One man is killed, and three are injured, as a Gaza smuggling tunnel collapses. (Xinhua/Ma'an)

A Palestinian court rejects an appeal from Mohammed Dahlan against lifting his immunity from prosecution on serious charges. (Xinhua)

Ex-prisoners from the West Bank now expelled to Gaza our finding a local taste for a dessert from back home. (New York Times)

A new cookbook showcases Gaza cuisine. (AP)

Hebrew study is growing among Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. (The Media Line)

Palestinian NGOs face political pressure and scrutiny in both the West Bank and Gaza. (Al Monitor)

Palestinian refugees fleeing the war in Syria are facing major obstacles entering Egypt, along with other Arab states. (PNN)

An Israeli-Palestinian business arbitration center is established. (YNet)


The New York Times hosts a wide-ranging debate on what Obama can accomplish on Israeli-Palestinian peace. (New York Times)

Raja Shehadeh remembers the late New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis' fairness on the Middle East. (New York Times)

Farid Zakaria says Obama's strategy of appealing to Israel's conscience on the occupation is the best strategy for creating a Palestinian state. (Washington Post)

Ziv Lenchner
says the Israeli public is oblivious and will not "budge until things go up in flames." (YNet)

David Ignatius says his trip shows Obama is again ready to lead in the Middle East. (Washington Post)

Douglas Bloomfield says Sec. Kerry is now positioned to pick up where Obama left off. (Jerusalem Post)

David Andrew Weinberg agrees that the ball is now in Kerry's court. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Harry Hagopian says Obama's trip fail to lay the basis for real hopes for peace. (Now)

Aluf Benn says Israel is moving away from tacit support for the Assad regime in Damascus. (Ha'aretz)

Nader Bakkar doubts Hamas was involved in attacks on Egyptian soldiers. (Ahram Online)

Akiva Eldar and Daniel Bar-Tal
say the campaign against the film "The Gatekeepers" by Israeli officials is part of a trend to silence all effective dissent. (Ha'aretz)

Noam Sheizaf interviews former Israeli negotiator Shaul Arieli, who insists a two-state solution is still possible. (+972)

The new PA budget, presented by PM Fayyad, calls for $1.4 billion in external financing this year. (Ma'an)

Palestinian factions welcome Qatar's proposal to host a reconciliation summit in Cairo. (Xinhua)

Israeli occupation forces arrest five Hamas activists in Hebron. (Ma'an)

Israeli occupation authorities seize privately held Palestinian land to expand a checkpoint. (Ma'an)

An Israeli occupation commander says Palestinian violence in the West Bank is increasing. (Jerusalem Post)

Palestinians reassert that they have a right to go to the Hague if peace talks with Israel totally fail. (Ha'aretz)

Turkey is reportedly asking Israel for $1 million per fatality from the flotilla incident. (Jerusalem Post)

Settler leaders urge the Israeli military to take former FM Lieberman's advice and authorize soldiers to open fire on rock-throwing Palestinians. (YNet)

Local Gaza journalists boycott a meeting on Hamas' restrictive new press laws. (Al Monitor)

Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria face multiple obstacles trying to enter Jordan. (The Atlantic)

Ha'aretz says Israel needs to be very cautious dealing with developments on the frontier between Syria and the occupied Golan Heights. (Ha'aretz)

Eva Illouz looks at the tension between Israel's "Jewish" and "democratic" characters. (Ha'aretz)

Sami Michael says there is an epidemic of racism in Israeli society. (YNet)

Former FM Lieberman
condemns PM Netanyahu's apology to Turkey. (YNet)

Nathan Guttman asks, with former DM Barak gone, who will be the point person in the new Israeli government to deal with the United States. (The Forward)

William Kolbrener says Pres. Obama may have given Netanyahu space to maneuver on peace, assuming he wants it. (The Forward)

Mohammad Fadhel joins those saying Obama's visit to the region shows he's given up on the two-state solution. (Gulf News)

Osama Al Sharif agrees Obama has abandoned the Palestinians. (Jordan Times)

Former Israeli minister Ephraim Sneh says a Palestinian state is "unavoidable." (Al Monitor)

Victor Kotsev sees many encouraging signs for renewed peace efforts. (Sada)

Matt Hill says Israel is "addicted to settlements," and Obama should "stop enabling its self-destruction." (The Independent)

March 26th

Egyptian kidnappers release two tourists, one of whom is a Palestinian citizen of Israel. (Ha'aretz/Reuters)

Israeli occupation forces impose a general closure of the West Bank through the end of Passover. (JTA/Jerusalem Post)

A new tour is giving Israelis a closer look at Ramallah, in some ways. (New York Times)

Israeli human rights group call on their government to ease new restrictions on Gaza fishermen. (AFP)

An Israeli general suggests the possibility of creating a "buffer zone" across the Syrian border If the Damascus regime is overthrown. (Reuters)

Pres. Abbas arrives in Doha for the latest Arab League summit. (Ma'an)

A hunger striking Palestinian prisoner is again said to be in mortal peril. (Xinhua)

The PA says it wants membership in Interpol to better fight corruption. (Xinuha)

Australia's Foreign Minister his country wants Israel to explain the 2010 death of alleged Mossad agent Ben Zygier. (Ha'aretz)

Qatar proposes the creation of a $1 billion fund for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, and contributes the first $250 million. (Reuters/Jerusalem Post)

Ha'aretz says Sec. Kerry's vigorous engagement with Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy shows Pres. Obama's visit was not a one-time event. (Ha'aretz)

Akiva Eldar
says Pres. Abbas can force PM Netanyahu's hand by returning to negotiations even without a settlement freeze. (Al Monitor)

Hussein Ibish looks at exaggerated optimism and pessimism about Obama's trip. (Now)

Ron Kampeas says Obama built-up political capital during the trip, but it's unclear how he's going to use it. (JTA)

Nathan Jeffay asks if young Israelis are really going to follow Obama towards peace. (The Forward)

The Economist says the trip looks a lot different from the Palestinian point of view. (The Economist)

Aaron David Miller says Obama's trip was nothing new or impressive. (Foreign Policy)

Ben Lynfield thinks the trip shows Obama has given up on peace. (The National Interest)

Maud Newton looks at the passionate pro-Israel stance of some American Evangelical Christians. (New York Times)

Khaled Elgindy
says the US needs to take Palestinian, as well as Israeli, politics into consideration. (LA Times)

Linah Alsaafin describes the struggles of a Palestinian family trying to hold onto its landing the occupied West Bank. (Al Monitor)

Ben Gittleson profiles Obama’s new National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

March 25th

The aftermath of Pres. Obama's Middle East trip raises hopes of a US push on Israeli-Palestinian peace, particularly as Turkey and Israel repair their relations. (New York Times)

Palestinian officials say they've agreed to enter into exploratory talks about new negotiations, but reject another partial, temporary settlement freeze. (Xinhua/AP)

The Israeli government appears more committed to settlements than ever. (CSM)

A new poll suggests most Israeli right-wingers would accept a two state agreement, including a division of Jerusalem. (Ha'aretz)

Palestinian officials say the US is trying to bring Arab states into its renewed peace efforts, and expect a new US initiative in the next few weeks. (AP/Times of Israel)

Palestinian officials say the PA economy still faces a crisis despite the release of $500 million in US aid. (Ma'an)

Israel says it's going to resume transferring Palestinian tax revenues to the PA immediately. (AFP)

PM Erdogan says it will take time to fully restore ties with Israel. (AP)

Israel denies the new understanding with Turkey involves ending the blockade of Gaza. (Reuters/Xinhua)

On Sunday, Israel extended the closure of the only commercial crossing into Gaza. (Xinhua)

The Israeli-Turkish rapprochement appears based on shared concerns about Syria. (CSM)

Josh Rogin describes the circumstances of the phone call that began mending Israeli-Turkish relations. (Foreign Policy)

A Hamas court in Gaza issues a death sentence on a Palestinian accused of collaborating with Israel. (Ma'an)

The Israeli military says it fired into Syria after being attacked across the frontier with the occupied Golan Heights. (Reuters)

A Palestinian citizen of Israel student who heckled Obama explains his outburst. (New York Times)

Palestinian officials complain Christians in the occupied West Bank received less than half of their requested permits from Israel to visit Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. (Ma'an)

Occupation forces dismantle a Palestinian tent protest against the planned E1 settlement expansion. (Ma'an)

Warren Bass says Obama showed PM Netanyahu and Pres. Abbas how to marshal public opinion on peace. (Foreign Policy)

Thomas Friedman says Israelis and Palestinians need to work with Obama to restart peace talks urgently. (New York Times)

Dana Milbank
says Obama looked more like a tourist than a peacemaker. (Washington Post)

Ari Shavit says the challenge of ending occupation is closely linked to finding solutions regarding Iran. (Ha'aretz)

The Jerusalem Post says "regional realities" compelled Netanyahu to apologize to Turkey. (Jerusalem Post)

Hassan Barari agrees the Israeli-Turkish rapprochement is pragmatic. (Arab News)

Chemi Shalev says that Israel got "tough love" from Obama. (Ha'aretz)

Adel Safty says Obama clearly won over a lot of skeptical Israelis, but wonders if it will be enough to make much of a difference. (Gulf News)

Bradley Burston
says Obama's trip has prompted him to drop his long-standing cynicism. (Ha'aretz)

Raghida Dergham
says the second Obama administration is crushing the hopes of the first. (Al Hayat)

Nasouh Al Majali says Obama's visit only proved American priorities are not focused on peace. (Jordan Times)

Arnaud de Borchgrave
says the fate of Jordan is critical to US, Turkish, Arab and Israeli policies. (UPI)

March 22nd

Pres. Obama challenges young Israelis and Palestinians to take the lead on peace. (New York Times)

Obama warns Israel that its future as a Jewish and democratic state is at risk because of the occupation. (New York Times/LA Times)

Obama and Pres. Abbas both say the settlement issue is an obstacle to peace, but Obama says it shouldn't block the resumption of negotiations. (Xinhua)

The White House issues transcripts of remarks given by Obama and Abbas after their meeting, and Obama's speech to the people of Israel and the region. (White House)

Obama seems to be repositioning himself as a peace broker, but Palestinians seem skeptical. (LA Times/CSM)

Obama's visit poses tough choices for Palestinians, who appear to be having a mixed reaction to his trip. (AP/The Media Line)

Pres. Peres reportedly tells Obama that PM Netanyahu's coalition will make it difficult for him to take steps towards peace. (Ha'aretz)

Obama meets with a chilly reception in Bethlehem. (Ha'aretz)

Israel is increasingly becoming a walled-off fortress. (NBC)

Hamas complains to Egypt after Israel suspends some aspects of the cease-fire agreement following the firing of two rockets into southern Israel. (Reuters)

Hamas places new restrictions on travel for Palestinians out of Gaza. (Al Monitor)

Hussein Ibish says Obama was trying to use public diplomacy as a corrective to dysfunctional state-level diplomacy on peace. (Foreign Policy)

The New York Times says Obama's speech was a rhetorical success, but now needs to be followed up with serious diplomatic measures, and Daniel Levy agrees. (New York Times/Foreign Policy)

Edward Djerejian says the US needs to lay out a clear diplomatic framework for the resumption of negotiations, including terms of reference. (Jerusalem Post)

Michael Cohen says Obama's rhetoric about peace is at odds with a continued diplomatic impasse. (The Guardian)

Lara Friedman says Obama's speech was a huge step in the right direction. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

Ha'aretz says Israelis need to listen carefully to Obama. (Ha'aretz)

Jeffrey Goldberg says Obama's speech would have been booed by some if he had given it at an AIPAC meeting. (The Atlantic)

Yossi Verter says Obama's speech sent a clear message to Israel -- you have a great country but you must end the occupation -- and was a rebuke to Netanyahu. (Ha'aretz)

Alon Pinkas says Obama sees Israel as a strong country that has to make some tough choices instead of always looking for sympathy. (YNet)

Amiel Ungar says Obama's charm won't be enough to convince most Israelis he's right. (Ha'aretz)

Gal Beckerman says Obama's speech was rhetorically historic, and that has to be considered a kind of progress. (The Forward)

Ian Black says Obama's speech displayed emotional and political intelligence. (The Guardian)

Dalia Hatuqa says many Palestinians see Obama's visit as a reminder of broken promises. (CSM)

The Economist
says Obama needs to strongly push back against the idea that a two-state solution is no longer possible. (The Economist)

The Jerusalem Post
claims most Israelis want peace, but most Palestinians just don't. (Jerusalem Post)

Karl Vick examines the sources of ongoing Palestinian frustration with Obama. (Time)

Ahmad Majdoubeh
says Obama has to begin to worry about his legacy in the Middle East. (Jordan Times)

Asmaa al-Ghoul says Mother's Day in Gaza is a time for sorrow, not joy. (Al Monitor)

March 21st

Pres. Obama vows to recommit US foreign policy to seeking a two-state peace agreement. (The National)

A leaked document suggests Pres. Abbas is looking for ways to resume negotiations with Israel. (New York Times)

Obama prepares to visit the occupied West Bank today. (BBC)

Obama and PM Netanyahu attempt to convey solidarity on various policies. (AP/Washington Post)

Ha'aretz publishes a transcript of the Obama-Netanyahu press conference. (Ha'aretz)

Obama and Netanyahu reportedly discussed Iran, Syria and peace talks at length. (Xinhua)

Obama calls Israeli-Palestinian peace "a really hard problem." (AP)

Obama reiterates unwavering American support for Israel. (AP)

Obama's message may not resonate with younger, more right-wing Israelis. (LA Times)

Some Palestinians
express great disappointment with Obama thus far for not pressuring Israel enough, and also with Arab states. (BBC/USA Today/The National)

The Israeli police say they have deployed 15,000 officers for security during Obama's trip. (Xinhua)

More than 500 journalists are covering Obama's Middle East trip. (The Media Line)

Two rockets fired from Gaza land in southern Israel. (YNet)

PM Fayyad secures €7 million in funding for Palestinian development in "Area C." (PNN)

The plight of Palestinian refugees in Syria could have serious implications for Israel. (JTA)

Some Palestinian lawyers file a lawsuit in Ramallah against the US government regarding the death of a Palestinian in Iraq in 2003. (Xinhua)

Weapons experts express significant doubts about Israel's new anti-missile defense system. (New York Times)

Israeli occupation forces surround a Palestinian protest tent village to the east of Jerusalem, in the area slated for the highly controversial proposed E-1 settlement. (Ma'an/Ha'aretz)

Rock star Roger Waters endorses boycotting Israel. (Jerusalem Post)

Israel is trying to get settlers and Palestinians in the occupied territories to cooperate on recycling trash. (Ha'aretz)

Gaza is facing another water crisis. (Al Monitor)

Ben Gurion University is trying to promote a "business for peace" program between Israelis and Palestinians. (Al Monitor)

PM Erdogan says his comments at a UN meeting about Zionism were "misinterpreted." (JTA)

A young woman in Gaza is allegedly killed by her father and brother in a "honor crime," but Hamas is not applying Abbas' ban on invoking "honor" in order to get reduced sentences. (Al Monitor)

Mara Rudman says the PA institution-building program is essential for building a Palestinian state to live alongside Israel. (USAID)

Matthew Duss says the US needs to support the PA institutionally and with a robust diplomatic push for a peace agreement, and by speaking bluntly to both sides. (CAP/American Prospect)

John Podesta, Ian Bomberg and Rudy deLeon
say political risk insurance is an important factor in Palestinian economic development. (American Progress)

Mustafa Barghouthi says Palestinians want to know if Obama and the US have the will to move forward on peace based on Palestinian independence. (New York Times)

Chemi Shalev
says Obama's major address during his visit to Israel and Palestine may make many parties uncomfortable with blunt talk about the consequences of inaction on peace. (Ha'aretz)

Bradley Burston says Obama's speech will be addressed directly to the Israeli public, who can either make or break a peace agreement with the Palestinians. (Ha'aretz)

Former Congressman Gary Ackerman says Israelis need to understand and respect the basic human dignity of Palestinians and strike a reasonable deal with them. (Jerusalem Post)

E.J. Dionne says Obama is hoping his visit will be a reset in his relations with the Israeli government and people. (Washington Post)

Herb Keinon
says the Israeli public has fallen in love with Obama. (Jerusalem Post)

The Daily Star says Obama's visit is likely to plunge Palestinians and Arabs into entirely new levels of outrage and despair.(The Daily Star)

Sami Abdel-Shafi says he's optimistic about the outcome of Obama's visit. (The Guardian)

Karl Vick says Obama and Netanyahu looked like they were in a "buddy movie"on the first day of the President's visit to Israel. (Time)

Harry Enten
says polls show both Israelis and Palestinians are increasingly skeptical that Obama or the US can help achieve a two-state solution. (The Guardian)

Eitan Haber
issues an open letter of thanks to Obama. (YNet)

Ian Black says Obama's trip to Israel will do nothing to restore Arab confidence in him. (The Guardian)

Gershon Baskin
offers advice to Obama. (Jerusalem Post)

Human Rights Watch
says Obama should press both Israeli and Palestinian leaders on abuses. (HRW)

Ian Lustick says Israel needs to outgrow an outmoded, traditional, pre-state Zionism. (LA Times)

Maysoon Zayid imagines taking Obama on a tour of Palestine and Israel as she knows them. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

Yolande Knell says Israelis and Palestinians are wondering if there any viable alternatives to a two-state solution. (BBC)

Naseem Tarawnah says Jeffrey Goldberg's interviews with Jordan's King Abdullah II demonstrates the pressing need for Arab social and political honesty. (The Black Iris)

Douglas Bloomfield notes that Pres. Morsi is cooperating much more with Israel than with Hamas. (Jerusalem Post)

Lana Shehadeh
says Palestinian women face pervasive violence and discrimination in their own society. (Al Monitor)

Hussein Ibish examines the psychology behind arguments that deny Israel is an occupying power, or that settlement activity in occupied territories is prohibited by international law. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

March 20th

Pres. Obama arrives in Israel for the first stage of his trip to the region. (AP)

Many are warning that Obama must take serious measures, including pressure on Israel, or risk the collapse of the two-state solution. (The Guardian)

Obama declares the US-Israel alliance is "eternal, forever." (Ma'an)

Obama and PM Netanyahu will seek a thaw in their strained relations. (LA Times/The National)

Iran will definitely be a subject of discussion following Israeli complaints about a recent international offer to Iran in nuclear negotiations. (LA Times)

Obama may face a chilly reception from Palestinians in a skeptical occupied West Bank. (LA Times/Washington Post)

Israeli settlement activity remains a major source of tension. (NPR)

Anti-Obama protesters scuffle with Palestinian police. (Reuters)

Israeli officials say Sec. Hagel will visit next month. (Reuters)

Israeli officials join others in asserting that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons in that country's civil war. (AP)

Israel's military says it treated four wounded Syrians. (Reuters)

Palestinian sources say Israeli occupation forces detained up to 50 children in Hebron on allegations of throwing stones. (PNN)

PA employees in Gaza complain their salaries have been docked for electricity bill payments. (Ma'an)

Netanyahu has been formally invited to visit Russia. (AP)

The killing of a Palestinian by Israeli border police in 2010 continues to provoke controversy and legal action. (Ha'aretz)

A previously unreleased tape recording shows that in 1972 Pres. Nixon mocked Democrats for their "dishonest" position that the US should recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. (AP)

The CSM says Obama's visit to the Middle East will reveal much about America's new global role. (CSM)

Israeli Amb. Oren gives his views on why Obama is visiting Israel now. (LA Times)

The National says Obama's visit offers little hope to Palestinians. (The National)

Nabil Sha'ath
says Palestinians are still waiting for Obama to really prove his commitment to a two-state solution. (Ha'aretz)

Ari Shavit says Obama must win over the Israeli public. (Ha'aretz)

Aaron Mann says the US not only can want peace more than the parties, it has to. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

Samuel Berger says the parties must move beyond personalities and look for points of common interest. (Foreign Policy)

Elias Harfoush says there's no evidence that Obama's visit means any change in policy at all. (Al Hayat)

Aaron David Miller offers 11 tips on how to be successful in pursuing Middle East peace. (Foreign Policy)

Robert Fisk asks if Obama's trip will be a tragedy, farce or just tourism. (The Independent)

Nicolas Pelham imagines what it might look like if Obama were trying to enter Israel as an ordinary American citizen. (Ha'aretz)

Rami Khouri explains how he thinks Obama could improve US policy in the Middle East. (The Daily Star)

Caryle Murphy says expectations for Obama's trip are justifiably low. (Al Majalla)

Ben Caspit says Obama is really going to Israel to talk about Iran, not peace. (Al Monitor)

Osama Al Sharif says Israel is worried about the apparently impending downfall of Syrian Pres. Assad. (Arab News)

Amos Yadlin and Gilead Sher
say Israel should move towards a two-state solution, unilaterally if need be. (Foreign Policy)

March 19th

Activists say three more Palestinians have been killed in Syria, in addition to 32 last week. (Ma'an/PNN)

Israel's new government is sending mixed messages on peace with the Palestinians. (AP)

Israel apparently will not have a permanent foreign minister for several months until the conclusion of former FM Lieberman's trial. (Ha'aretz)

Israeli anti-settlement activists say plans for building "Givat HaMatos" in the occupied West Bank are the most dangerous to peace. (IRIN)

A UNHRC fact-finding mission calls Israeli settlement activity "creeping annexation," but the US accuses the body of a "disproportionate focus" on Israel. (Jerusalem Post/)

PM Netanyahu says Israel is ready for "historic compromises" with the Palestinians. (Washington Post)

Israelis appear wary of Pres. Obama's visit, but say they're willing to listen. (New York Times)

Palestinians are skeptical
the trip will result in any additional peace talks. (The National)

Obama's trip will mingle diplomacy and public diplomacy. (Xinhua)

New polls suggest Obama may be becoming slightly more popular in Israel on the eve of his visit. (Reuters)

Many expect Obama to try to reach an understanding with Israel over Iran policy. (New York Times)

Sec. Kerry will return to the region shortly after Obama's trip concludes to discuss prospects for peace negotiations. (Ha'aretz)

Obama is traveling to a new and much changed Middle East, which some think poses perils for his trip. (AP)

Some Palestinians vandalize a banner of Obama. (AP)

PM Fayyad is heading a Palestinian delegation to an international donors meeting in Brussels. (Ma'an)

Lebanese authorities say Israeli warplanes violated Lebanese airspace and dropped flares on Monday. (AP)

Israeli police say Palestinians shot and wounded an Israeli in a drive-by shooting in the occupied West Bank. (AP)

Qatar announces the first phase of a rebuilding project in Gaza. (Ma'an)

Hebrew is being increasingly taught in Gaza schools. (CSM)

Many analysts see the rise of Hamas as a direct consequence of, and threat to, the failing peace process. (USA Today)

Israeli troops demolish six structures in an "unauthorized" settlement outpost. (Xinhua)

Palestinians face a range of difficulties trying to buy and assert their ownership of land. (The Guardian)

Israeli defense experts expect long-term instability from Muslim militants in border regions. (JTA)

The LA Times says despite low expectations, Obama must continue to push for a two-state solution. (Los Angeles Times)

Jeffrey Goldberg interviews Jordan's King Abdullah II. (The Atlantic)

Peter Beinart says Obama needs to charm Israelis, but also to frighten them. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

Martin Indyk
says if Obama can win over the Israeli public, this will be crucial leverage with Netanyahu. (Ha'aretz)

Alon Pinkas says that Obama will discover during his visit that Israelis and Palestinians are not ready for an agreement. (Al Monitor)

The Jerusalem Post thinks new DM Ya'alon will be second only to Netanyahu on defense and security issues. (Jerusalem Post)

Michael Singh
says US allies in the Middle East are looking for American leadership. (Washington Post)

Ha'aretz says Israel has just inaugurated a settler government. (Ha'aretz)

Hassan Barari
agrees settlers are the big winners in the new Israeli government coalition. (Arab News)

Gregg Carlstrom
says Israeli settlers are no longer particularly hostile to, or worried about, Obama. (Al Jazeera)

A Palestinian child writes an open letter to Obama about how settlers took over part of his family's home. (The Guardian)

Diana Pinto
says Obama is visiting a Jewish Israeli society that is only looking inward. (The Daily Star)

Eyad Abu Shakra
evaluates a recent speech on the "Arab Spring" by Fayyad. (Al Arabiya)

March 18th

Planned Israeli settlement construction in occupied East Jerusalem will complicate prospects for peace. (New York Times)

PM Netanyahu forms a new government with a key ally, who is noted for being cautious on Iran, as new defense minister. (AP/Reuters)

Netanyahu reportedly orders a quiet freeze on all settlement construction during Pres. Obama's upcoming visit. (Daily Beast)

Israel's new housing minister pledges more settlement building soon, as the settler movement is seen as seizing control of Israel's housing policies. (Reuters/Ha'aretz)

Settlers say they are pleased with the new government. (YNet)

Palestinians are increasingly frustrated with Obama's inaction on settlements. (Xinhua)

The new Israeli coalition agreement calls for a controversial Basic Law bill that would make the Israel's democratic character subservient to its Jewish character. (Ha'aretz)

Obama's Middle East trip is said to be intended to contain tensions rather than present new solutions. (AP/Los Angeles Times)

Palestinians say they are trying to keep their expectations for Obama's visit realistic. (Xinhua) Israelis intensify their efforts to press Obama for the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. (New York Times)

Pres. Abbas reiterates that Palestinians should not engage in armed struggle. (Jerusalem Post)

14 Palestinians and one Jordanian die in a traffic accident, and the bodies of the victims are returned to the West Bank. (Xinhua/Ma'an)

A Hamas activist nicknamed "the mother of martyrs" passes away. (AP)

Former FM Lieberman says Israeli occupation forces should open fire on stone-throwing Palestinian protesters. (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli occupation forces arrest 17 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on Saturday. (Ma'an)

Egypt deports seven Palestinians back to Gaza "for security reasons." (AP)

A hunger striking Palestinian prisoner cuts a deal with Israeli authorities, ends his fast, and is released to Gaza. (AP)

Hamas leader Hanniyeh claims relations with Egypt are "strong." (Ma'an)

Israel may cut funding for Jewish-Arab dialogue initiatives. (Ha'aretz)

Palestinians complaining to Israeli occupation authorities about alleged "price tag" arson attacks find themselves arrested on charges of fabricating the event. (YNet)

A new poll suggests a large majority of Americans don't want their country to take the lead on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. (Jerusalem Post)

Hussein Ibish explains why Israeli settlement activity is strictly prohibited by international law. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

Ben Ehrenreich looks at tensions in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank as a possible flashpoint for a third intifada. (New York Times)

Aaron David Miller suggests how to fix the Obama-Netanyahu relationship. (Washington Post)

Ben Caspit imagines what the Obama-Netanyahu conversation would sound like if they told each other the truth. (Al Monitor)

J.J. Goldberg says Obama and Netanyahu need each other. (The Forward)

Jonathan Freedland says Obama should not be a tourist and must take a message to Israel. (The Guardian)

Daniel Levy says Obama should take the opportunity to try to understand Israel's complex politics. (Ha'aretz)

Barbara Opall-Rome says the "Free Pollard" campaign is "a disgrace to American Zionists." (Ha'aretz)

Tamar Hermann
notes that Israelis are oddly indifferent to Obama's visit. (YNet)

Uzi Benziman
says the public has the right to know who is paying for the settlements, and by how much. (Ha'aretz)

Maskit Bendel
says that Palestinian-only bus lines are just a symptom of total segregation in the occupied West Bank. (YNet)

Aluf Benn
says if Israeli leftists want to be effective, they need to connect with Israel's mainstream. (Ha'aretz)

The Forward
says efforts to make Israel even more of a special case in US foreign relations, this time with regard to aid and sequesters, can backfire. (The Forward)

Musa Keilani says Jordan will have to scrutinize the new Israeli coalition and its policies very closely. (Jordan Times)

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017