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)

March 15th

The White House says Israel must recognize changing dynamics in the Middle East. (AP)

Pres. Obama gives a wide-ranging interview on Israeli television. (JTA)

Neither Israelis nor Palestinians seem to be placing much hope in Obama's upcoming visit for reviving peace talks. (Reuters)

Pres. Abbas says he hopes for a resumption of peace talks with Israel this year, but he's not optimistic. (Reuters)

Palestinian negotiators say "goodwill gestures" will not be enough to revive negotiations. (Jerusalem Post)

Hamas expresses anger that Obama will be ignoring the group during his visit. (Xinhua)

Tensions mount in the occupied West Bank as Israelis and Palestinians attack each other. (New York Times)

Occupation forces arrest 10 Palestinians for throwing stones at Israeli cars and causing crashes that injured several, including a baby. (AP)

PM Netanyahu will reportedly sign a deal forming a new government today, but many observers don't expect many policy changes. (AP/CSM)

Egyptian media blame Hamas for the killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers last year, which the group angrily denies. (AP)

The chairman of the magazine that published the story dismisses Hamas threats of a lawsuit. (Ma'an)

The IMF says the Palestinian financial situation is "increasingly perilous." (Reuters)

Obama assures Israelis the US will not allow Iran to possess a nuclear weapon. (Reuters)

The Palestinian Chief Justice says there is no basis whatsoever in Islam for justifying "honor killings." (Ma'an)

The influential Qatar-based Islamist cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi may visit Gaza. (Ha'aretz)

Palestinian sources say the rift between Hamas and Fatah has never been this severe. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Islamic Jihad says it intends to run, for the first time, in any future Palestinian elections. (Al Monitor)

UC San Diego's student government joins other UC student bodies in urging university divestment from companies involved in Israel's occupation. (Los Angeles Times)

ATFP Pres. Ziad Asali puts Obama's upcoming trip to the region in its broader context. (Huffington Post)

Aluf Benn looks at two new books about the political role of Israel's military. (Foreign Affairs)

Uri Blau profiles life, mores and mentalities in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. (Ha'aretz)

Larry Derfner says slandering Israel's critics as "anti-Semites" is a conscious effort to suppress criticism of its actions. (Ha'aretz)

Uri Savir says Israel's security is linked to Palestinian independence and regional stability. (Jerusalem Post)

French ambassador Christophe Bigot
tells Israelis their sense of apparent calm is illusory. (Jerusalem Post)

David Harris says Obama's trip to Israel could be a milestone in bilateral relations. (Ha'aretz)

Jeffrey Goldberg
asks why Obama is going to Israel now. (Bloomberg)

The Daily Star hopes Obama's trip will not be an exercise in "political tourism." (The Daily Star)

Lara Friedman critiques Dennis Ross' 14 point peace plan issued last week. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

Brent Sasley tries to explain who got what in Israel's new coalition deal. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)

The Economist says there is no alternative to a two-state solution and those looking for one are kidding themselves. (The Economist)

March 14th

Pres. Obama will visit the Church of the Holy Nativity in occupied Bethlehem during his visit to Palestine, but may not visit Ramallah. (New York Times/Ma'an)

Palestinians and Israelis are preparing to receive Obama. (The Media Line)

Some Palestinians are hoping to send messages directly to Obama through billboards in Ramallah. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Observers fear Obama's visit will be clouded by regional politics. (AP)

Israeli occupation forces raid several towns in the West Bank and arrest 19 Palestinians. (Ma'an)

PM Netanyahu appears to have finally assembled a new coalition government. (New York Times/AP)

Settlers and their allies will likely be strengthened by the shape of the new Israeli coalition government. (Ha'aretz)

Israel accuses a Hamas leader of orchestrating attacks against Israelis. (Xinhua)

A Palestinian girl dies in a fire started by a gaslamp in Gaza. (Xinhua)

Settlers steal an Israeli military tent in the occupied Palestinian territories. (Ha'aretz)

Lawyers for a hunger striking Palestinian prisoner again say he is on the brink of death. (Ma'an)

The World Bank is planning to transfer $60.5 million to the PA in budgetary support. (PNN)

The once-thriving Palestinian shoe industry in Hebron is in sharp decline due to cheap imports. (Al Monitor)

The Israeli military says the Syrian regime is preparing to use chemical weapons, although the order has not yet been given. (Ha'aretz)

Bethlehem will hold its first marathon in April. (The National)

Salafists from Gaza may be starting to take part in the Syrian Civil War, and others are rising in refugee camps in Lebanon. (Al Monitor)

The Israeli government is launching an education campaign intended to boost economic growth among its Palestinian citizens. (Bloomberg)

UNRWA officials defend UN aid to the Palestinian refugees during a trip to Washington. (Foreign Policy)

PCHR looks at a failed compensation case filed against Israel by a Palestinian severely injured by Israeli attacks on Gaza last November. (PNN)

Hani al-Masri says another intifada is not far away given the level of Palestinian despair. (YNet)

Osman Mirghani says an atmosphere of hatred and apartheid is growing in Israel. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Safa Shehada explains the creation of an organization designed to support Bedouin women in Israel. (Jerusalem Post)

Ari Shavit says Obama holds the future of Israel in his hands. (Ha'aretz)

Joyce Karam says Obama can learn lessons about his trip from former Pres. Clinton. (Al Arabiya)

Douglas Bloomfield
says Israel needs a settlement freeze. (Jerusalem Post)

Abraham Foxman explains what he thinks Obama ought to say to the people of Israel. (Ha'aretz)

Gershon Baskin
says unilateralism is disastrous and the Geneva agreements demonstrate that a deal is possible. (Jerusalem Post)

Ari Jankelowitz
looks at the complications of dual citizenship for Israelis in light of the Prisoner X scandal. (The Forward)

Aaron David Miller
says a close look at demographics shows Israel has to give up the occupation or choose between being a Jewish or a democratic state. (Foreign Policy)

March 13th

NEWS: Israeli occupation forces shoot and kill a Palestinian protester in the West Bank. (AP) New PA taxes on foreign imports are controversial. (Ma'an) Palestinians appeal to Israel's High Court that a new settlement expansion will cut Bethlehem off from areas to its south. (Ha'aretz) Hamas threatens to begin issuing its own passports to Gaza residents. (Xinhua) Hamas says it has a list of suspected "collaborators" who must turn themselves in or be detained. (Ma'an) Seven Palestinians are arrested at Cairo airport after being found in possession of maps of Egyptian military buildings. (Ma'an) UNHCR has joined a petition to the High Court opposing Israel's "infiltration law." (Xinhua) Film producers say Egyptian authorities have moved to prevent the screening of a film about the Jews of Egypt. (AP) Pres. Peres calls on the international community to do more to pressure Iran. (Reuters) Pres. Obama plans to give only one TV interview while he is in Israel. (Ha'aretz) The consensus is the Obama trip will involve lots of listening but few concrete proposals. (JTA) The UN calls on Jordan to admit Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria and estimates 85% of its residents have fled the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus. (AP/Al Arabiya) A Palestinian father rejects a UN report suggesting his son may have been killed by a stray Palestinian rocket rather than in Israeli attack last November. (The National)

COMMENTARY: Rashid Khalidi says in order to achieve peace the US must unequivocally oppose settlements and occupation and support Palestinian statehood. (New York Times) Ari Shavit says, on the contrary, a new approach to peace should be based on incremental steps that calm the immediate situation. (New York Times) Thomas Friedman says Obama needs to ask the Israelis bluntly what their vision for the future really is, and if they even have one. (New York Times) Eric Yoffie says three issues -- Iran, settlements and Jonathan Pollard -- could all pose problems during Obama's visit to Israel. (Ha'aretz) Robert Lifton says, in spite of undoubtedly heavy opposition, Obama should launch an ambitious and decisive new peace initiative. (Huffington Post) Martin Raffel says it would be better for the US to focus on incremental steps in the immediate term rather than ambitious peace proposals. (The Jewish Week) Ben Birnbaum provides an overview of the bleak prospects for achieving a two-state agreement. (The New Republic) Mortimer Zuckerman says a two-state solution is essential, but gives his opinion about why it has been so elusive. (U.S. News & World Report) Uri Misgav says Jewish Israeli social and political leaders are being shamefully silent about violent attacks against Arabs. (Ha'aretz) Ilene Prusher says Israel has to face the fact that it has a growing problem with racism. (Ha'aretz) Aviad Kleinberg says Israeli society needs to not only reject racist attacks but identify with the victims. (YNet) The Jerusalem Post says Israel cannot be accused of "apartheid" in the occupied Palestinian territories because it does not intend to keep them. (Jerusalem Post) Omar Shaban says there are few real prospects for reestablishing the Palestinian Pound. (Al Monitor) J. J. Goldberg looks at why Israel is calling for Pollard's release now. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Mira Sucharov critiques Joseph Levine's recent commentary on Israel's "right to exist." (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Hani Almadhoun says increasing numbers of married Palestinian women are enrolling in universities. (Huffington Post)

March 12th

NEWS: The UN says a baby killed in Gaza during fighting last November was probably killed by a Palestinian rocket, not an Israeli attack. (New York Times) Pres. Obama meets with Arab-American groups before his trip to the Middle East. (JTA) Israel releases a tentative schedule for Obama's visit. (JTA) Israelis and Palestinians wonder what, exactly, Obama will propose during his trip. (The Media Line) Palestinian say Pres. Abbas will raise the issue of prisoners with Obama during their meeting. (Jerusalem Post) Israeli settlers are reportedly worried that Obama's visit will mean a slowdown or halt to settlement construction. (YNet) The UN says the next few months are crucial for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. (Xinhua) The PA calls for international intervention to save the Palestinian economy. (Xinhua) A new World Bank report says Israeli restrictions and closures are badly damaging the Palestinian economy. (Ma'an) An Israeli military helicopter crash kills two pilots. (AP) Palestinians are contesting the route of a new Israeli settlement highway in the occupied territories. (AP) 11 people are wounded during fighting in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. (Xinhua) The UN says Palestinian refugees in Syria face suffering and undue obstacles. (Xinhua) Palestinian women's rights activists say Palestinian men need more workshops to better understand the issues. (Ma'an) An Israeli settler attacks a Palestinian shepherd. (YNet)

COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says Hamas is profoundly disillusioned with the new Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) John Collins looks at controversies surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Los Angeles Times) Bradley Burston says Obama's visit sends the message to Israel that peace is a matter of now or never. (Ha'aretz) Dmitry Shumsky says PM Erdogan has confused oppressive Israeli policies with Zionism. (Ha'aretz) Noah Klieger says violent Jewish Israeli racists are a handful of hooligans. (YNet) Dalia Hatuqa says Palestinian national reconciliation seems farther off than ever. (The National) Shlomi Eldar says Hamas may be considering recognizing Israel and other measures but will have a hard time attaining respectability. (Al Monitor) Octavia Nasr talks about what she learned in Haifa. (Al Arabiya)

March 11th

NEWS: Palestinian factions are due to meet again in Cairo in April for more unity negotiations. (Ma'an) The Palestinian election commission says it will publish the final voter registry on April 10. (Ma'an) Israeli occupation forces seriously injure two Palestinians in Gaza and Hebron. (Xinhua) The PA estimates there are 50,000 drug addicts in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. (Ma'an) Israel finances its military justice system in the occupied territories in large part through fines against Palestinians. (Ha'aretz) Palestinians protest Israel's blocking of Palestinian family reunification. (Xinhua) PM Netanyahu holds the last meeting of his current cabinet, but without ultra-Orthodox parties present, as a new government begins to take shape. (Bloomberg/Xinhua) Egypt arrests an Israeli citizen in Sinai. (Xinhua) The PA is preparing more applications for UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the occupied territories. (Ma'an) The International Federation of Journalists accuses Hamas of preventing it from providing safety training to women journalists. (PNN) A new poll shows Israel's Palestinian citizens are more afraid of attacks by Jewish Israelis than outside forces. (Ha'aretz) A new Senate bill would allow Israel to join the US Visa Waiver Program. (JTA) Palestinians are increasingly upset with Egypt's pumping of raw sewage into smuggling tunnels in order to close them. (Al Jazeera)

COMMENTARY: Joseph Levine points out it's not anti-Semitic to examine the tension between Israel aspiring to be both a "Jewish" and a "democratic" state simultaneously. (New York Times) Peter Beinart says the pro-Palestinian left has a terrible blind spot regarding Hamas' oppression and misogyny. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Aluf Benn says Israel is hoping to establish at least 1 million Jewish settlers in the occupied territories in the foreseeable future. (Ha'aretz) Gideon Levy says no one can respond to UNICEF's report on Israel's abuse of Palestinian children detainees by calling the organization "anti-Semitic." (Ha'aretz) Yonah Jeremy Bob says the UNICEF report ignores Israel's efforts to reform its treatment of Palestinian children detainees. (Jerusalem Post) Smadar Shir says anti-Arab racism is becoming widespread in Israel. (YNet) Bambi Sheleg says the wave of attacks against Arabs in Israel shows the basic values of the society are collapsing. (YNet) AP says Pres. Obama has three main goals for his trip to Israel and Palestine: Iran, relations with Israel and reviving negotiations. (AP) Barak Ravid says the United States now expects the parties themselves to take the lead on peace. (Ha'aretz) Adel Safty says Obama and Sec. Kerry must remember the international legal foundations for ending the conflict. (Gulf News) Chemi Shalev says it's crazy for many Israelis to be relieved that Obama doesn't appear to have a peace plan. (Ha'aretz) Emanuel Rosen says if Obama really doesn't have a peace plan, he might as well postpone his visit to the region. (YNet) Omar Baddar says Obama's visit has to be a "game changer" or the region faces decades of unending conflict. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Alan Elsner says Obama's trip should be seen as a step in the right direction, not an end in itself. (The Hill) Barry Rubin says it doesn't matter what Israelis really think of Obama, they need to applaud him because they require American support. (Jerusalem Post) Hassan Barari says Netanyahu's new coalition won't last long. (Arab News) Nathan Guttman says AIPAC is trying to tack to the left and make the pro-Israel cause more liberal in line with Obama's America. (The Forward) Nathan Jeffay looks at the role of Sara Netanyahu. (The Forward) The Independent profiles the novelist and hit TV scriptwriter Sayed Kashua, a Palestinian citizen of Israel. (The Independent)<

March 8th

NEWS: Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian worshipers clash at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem. (Reuters/AP) Israel has begun construction on the extension of a freeway that would divide a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, as villagers seek a court order to prevent this. (Los Angeles Times) Pres. Obama is downplaying expectations for his trip to Israel and Palestine. (AP) Obama meets with Jewish-American leaders in advance of his trip, saying peace is essential but the prospects are bleak. (Reuters/JTA) Young Israelis are asking if Obama's visit is too little, too late. (The Media Line) The Israeli military is preparing for the next conflict with Hezbollah. (AP) Hamas denies the Egyptian government has asked it to abandon "armed struggle." (Ma'an) Israel issues hundreds of arrest warrants for ultra-Orthodox Jews dodging military service. (Xinhua) Palestinians complain about Canadian official comments about the prospect of suing Israel at the ICC. (Xinhua) Palestinians at a large refugee camp in the occupied West Bank rally in support of prisoners. (Ma'an) The Palestinian statistics bureau says women constitute 49.2% of the population. (PNN) A new Palestinian poll confirms the public demand for elections and continued greater support for Fatah and consistently low numbers for Hamas. (PNN) Violence and crime are on the rise in Gaza. (Al Monitor) Israeli politicians suggest a new government may be announced next week. (Ha'aretz) Carl Levin, a leader on Middle East issues in the Senate, says he will not seek reelection in 2014. (JTA) The Netherlands may instruct retail stores to clearly label settlement products. (YNet) The State Department says it has decided to defer presenting an award to an Egyptian activist because of alleged anti-Semitic tweets. (Jerusalem Post) An Israeli court has found the PA indirectly responsible for the murder of an Israeli in 2003. (Jerusalem Post) Attacks on Palestinians and anti-Arab bigotry are becoming more common and acceptable in Jewish Israeli society. (The National)

COMMENTARY: Ami Ayalon says Obama's trip should initiate the creation of a clear process towards a two state solution. (Los Angeles Times) Yisrael Medad asks if Obama can overcome low expectations about his visit in Israel. (Los Angeles Times) Uri Savir says Obama will have to move past rhetoric to difficult decisions in order to move the process forward. (Jerusalem Post) Noah Feldman remembers Rabbi Menachem Froman. (Bloomberg) Reza Nasri says US and Israeli threats of force against Iran are counterproductive and harm chances for an agreement. (CSM) Anshel Pfeffer says the debate on Zionism in Britain is empty of content. (Ha'aretz) Ranan Hartman says all citizens, Zionist or not, should be included in the Israeli identity. (YNet) Patrick Seale says the EU could play a major role in promoting Middle East peace if it wanted to. (Gulf News) Naela Khalil says Israeli authorities mainly ignore attacks by settlers on Palestinian villages and villagers. (Al Monitor) Raja Shehadeh interviews Mustafa Barghouti. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Aaron David Miller interviews Uri Savir and Ahmed Qurei. (Foreign Policy) S. Daniel Abraham says soon Israel will no longer be a Jewish-majority state. (The Atlantic)

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