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)

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.

January 31st

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

January 30th

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

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