August 5th

Israeli officials say the next round of peace talks is scheduled for mid-August. (Xinhua)
Palestinians say Israel's prisoner release will be conducted in four stages. (Ma'an/YNet/Times of Israel)
The prisoner release is not prompting less pessimism among Palestinians. (NBC)
The US extends embassy closures for a second day across much of the Middle East and Africa, but not in Israel and the occupied territories. (Reuters/YNet)
Israel announces wide-ranging new subsidies for settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as "national priority areas." (AP/Xinhua/AFP)
The record number of subsidized settlements includes four formerly regarded as "illegal" and "unauthorized" outposts. (YNet)
Palestinians say Israel's announcement prioritizing development of settlement areas will harm peace talks. (New York Times/Ma'an)
Egypt reportedly cancels PM Erdogan's long anticipated visit to Gaza. (Ma'an/Times of Israel)
Hamas's complaints about Egyptian restrictions are falling on deaf ears in Cairo. (AP)
US military Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey visits Israel. (Xinhua)
For many young Palestinian boys living under occupation, throwing stones at Israeli soldiers is a rite of passage. (New York Times)
FC Barcelona begins its "peace tour" of Israel and the occupied territories in Bethlehem and ends it in Tel Aviv. (Los Angeles Times/AP)
Palestinian Soccer Association head Rajoub welcomes Barcelona's trip and condemns Israel's policies that impede Palestinian sports. (Times of Israel)
An Israeli occupation soldier is filmed kicking a Palestinian child. (YNet)
Arab MKs strongly protest new Israeli electoral laws. (Al Monitor)
Palestinians fleeing Syria for Lebanon find little support, even from other Palestinians. (Christian Science Monitor)
Two Muslim shrines are damaged in attacks by extremists in Sinai. (Reuters)
Archaeologists find the remains of an ancient Jewish village in the Galilee. (AP)
The Washington Post interviews Egyptian Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. (Washington Post)
Quartet envoy Tony Blair says there is hope for peace in the Middle East's turmoil. (The Observer)
NPR interviews Marwan Muasher on prospects for a two-state solution. (NPR)
Crispian Balmer says the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no longer the central focus of Middle East strategic relations. (Reuters)
Trudy Rubin says Sec. Kerry is pushing peace talks now because he understands how dangerous the status quo truly is. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Jonathan Freedman says no one should be cynical about peace. (The Guardian)
Harriet Sherwood samples a mix of Israeli and Palestinian opinion on the new negotiations. (The Observer)
Jay Michaelson says Israelis just don't feel any pressing need to make peace. (The Forward)
Ha'aretz says Israel needs to stop heavily incentivizing settlement activity with generous subsidies. (Ha'aretz)
Amira Hass suggests four guarantees American negotiators should offer Israelis and Palestinians in the next round of talks. (Ha'aretz)
Jesse Rosenfeld says drawnout negotiations will only increase Palestinian misery. (The National)
Leonard Fein says peace talks can only succeed when all issues are negotiated and resolved. (The Forward)
The Deseret News says even long-shot negotiations are preferable to none. (Deseret News)
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel says any willingness to talk is a step forward. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
George Friedman says imagination, not past paradigms, could open the door for peace. (
Brent Sasley says peace negotiations poll well and seem popular among Israelis. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)
Avraham Burg suggests a vertical metaphor for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. (Ha'aretz)
Danielle Spiegel Feld dismisses comparisons between PM Netanyahu and the late PM Rabin. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)
Oudeh Basharat says the expulsion of Arabs in Israel begins in the Knesset. (Ha'aretz)
Herb Keinon says the controversies over the Barcelona visit show how hard peace will be to achieve. (Jerusalem Post)
The National says Barcelona's tour is a helpful reminder of what people have in common. (The National)
Nathan Jeffay says Jewish Israeli attitudes towards Arabs are starting to soften, but the feeling is not reciprocated. (The Forward)
Nathan Guttman asks if US generals have a "pro-Arab" bias. (The Forward)
Geoffrey Aronson says Israel and Hamas are being forced to cooperate because of intensified Egyptian restrictions. (Al Monitor)
Omar Karmi says newly released British documents point to an even larger Israeli role in the Sabra and Shatila massacre than previously thought. (The National)

August 2nd

Pres. Obama has telephone calls with Pres. Abbas and PM Netanyahu. (Reuters/AFP/Ha'aretz)
Netanyahu and Obama reportedly agree to continue to coordinate over peace talks with the Palestinians. (Xinhua)
new Gallup poll shows Palestinians see peace as crucial to their future but are skeptical about the new talks. (Gallup)
Both Israelis and Palestinians are facing significant internal resistance to new negotiations. (Reuters)
Israel is opening a checkpoint in Hebron for the first time in 12 years as a "goodwill gesture." (Al Monitor)
Journalists in Gaza protest against Hamas closures of several key media outlets. (Ma'an)
Bedouins in Israel continue to fight a mass forced relocation program. (AP/Ma'an)
The Palestinian Cabinet condemns Israel's decision to block EU projects in "Area C" and Gaza. (PNN)
Israeli diplomats disavow responsibility for being caught off guard by the EU occupation guidelines. (Ha'aretz/Times of Israel)
Netanyahu and other Israeli MKs have an argument with Arab MKs over "who was there first." (Jerusalem Post)
Iran's new president describes Israel as "an old wound," which should be removed. (AP)
The BBC looks at Iran's annual "Jerusalem Day." (BBC)
Toronto bans a "Jerusalem Day" that has been held there in recent years. (The Forward)
Netanyahu welcomes new American sanctions on Iran. (Xinhua)
US embassies, including in Israel and across the Middle East, will be closed this Sunday for security reasons. (Xinhua)
West Bank water shortages force Palestinians to "lease" land from Israeli settlers. (Ha'aretz)
An Australian comedian satirizes the peace process in Jerusalem performances. (The Media Line)
Hamas warns of a "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza if the crossing with Egypt is not reopened. (Ahram Online)
Egypt's smuggling tunnel mass closures spell economic, and possibly political, disaster for Hamas. (Spiegel Online)
Ha'aretz profiles the family and experiences of a long-standing Palestinian prisoner in Israel. (Ha'aretz)
ATFP intern Rachel Bessette asks if Israelis are going to listen to their own security professionals who are unanimous that a two-state solution is essential. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)
Michael Cohen says Israel seems to be waking up to the fact that it has to choose between international isolation or ending the occupation. (The Guardian)
Stacie Goddard says referenda can be crucial to the success of  peace agreements. (New York Times)
Nathan Guttman says vehement criticism from both sides probably means Martin Indyk is a good choice for Special Envoy. (The Forward)
Claude Salhani also thinks Indyk might be up to a tough job. (Huffington Post)
Shlomi Eldar says it's necessary to fight off pessimism if peace talks are to succeed. (Al Monitor)
Frida Ghitis is fairly pessimistic. (Miami Herald)
Alan Berger says the parties have no option other than a two-state solution. (Boston Globe)
The Philadelphia Inquirer says Israeli-Palestinian peace isn't a Middle East panacea but it would be a huge step forward. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Daniel Levy says, if the US really wants Middle East peace, it probably needs a new Israeli leadership and PM. (Ha'aretz)
Arnaud de Borchgrave says Netanyahu doesn't trust his chief negotiator, and she doesn't trust him. (UPI)
George Hishmeh says the American negotiating team needs more balance. (Jordan Times)
Maysoon Zayid says Palestinian prisoners are used as pawns in the peace process. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) 
Sayed Kashua says he yearns for the day when he won't be embarrassed to say openly he is a Palestinian citizen of Israel. (Ha'aretz)
Mazal Mualem interviews extremist Likud MK Gamliel, a strident opponent of peace. (Al Monitor)
Einat Wilf says some Israelis and Palestinians are attached to the status quo and feel threatened by peace talks. (Al Monitor)
Daniel Weinberg mocks the idea that Israel needs to make more concessions to the Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post)
Haviv Rettig Gur says a new Israeli electoral reform plan is actually a blessing in disguise for Arab citizens. (Times of Israel)
Ehud Yaari thinks Hamas may be losing its grip on Gaza. (WINEP)
Arad Nir says Turkey is stalling on reconciliation with Israel. (Al Monitor)
Gordon Lubold looks at how Sec. Hegel, once criticized by pro-Israel groups, is now considered a great friend. (Foreign Policy)
Bill Van Esveld says everyone is abusing Palestinians' human rights. (Human Rights Watch)

August 1st




The first round of new Israeli-Palestinian negotiations ends in Washington in a somber mood. (Ha'aretz)

As an adjunct to the talks, US Gen. John Allen is reportedly already on the ground working on security-related issues. (Jerusalem Post/UPI)

Sec. Kerry reportedly tells members of Congress Israel is likely to retain 85% of settlement blocs in any agreement. (PNN)

EU foreign policy chief Ashton says a peace agreement is possible. (AFP)

Pres. Peres says there is no alternative to peace. (AFP)

Many analysts and ordinary people are deeply pessimistic about the prospects for success in the new negotiations. (AFP/BBC/The National)

There seems little enthusiasm or expectations for the talks in Ramallah. (Times of Israel)

PM Netanyahu may be seeking to buy time in a troubled Middle East through the negotiations. (Reuters)

Israel is justifying its planned eviction of 1,300 Palestinians in the West Bank to save time and money for occupation forces. (Ha'aretz)

Iran is strengthening its links with Islamic Jihad in Gaza. (New York Times/Los Angeles Times)

The fuel crisis in Gaza is intensifying. (YNet/The Media Line)

Gaza youths are seeking to improve their lives by establishing various clubs. (Al Monitor)

Hamas says it has documents proving that Fatah has been engaged in an "incitement" campaign against them in Egypt. (Ma'an)

The PA religious affairs minister calls for the people of Gaza to rise up against Hamas rule. (UPI)

The PA calls for an investigation into comments by Israeli Economy Minister Bennett that he "killed a lot of Arabs in my life." (Ma'an)

An Israeli military legal advisor justifies the arrest of a five-year-old Palestinian boy. (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials end a four-month-long strike. (Xinhua)

American officials say additional Israeli strikes on Syria are likely because some targeted missiles remain intact. (New York Times)

A Jewish Israeli man is indicted on charges of spying for Iran. (YNet/Jerusalem Post)

Palestinians increasingly seek employment in the high-tech industry. (Christian Science Monitor)

Netanyahu may nix a lucrative Israeli-European deal over recent EU guidelines about Israel's occupation. (Jerusalem Post)

Israelis and Palestinians are seeking cooperation in food trucks. (Ha'aretz)

Debra Kamin profiles a Brooklyn-born weapons instructor who is training settlers to use weapons. (Foreign Policy)



David Ignatius says Kerry may have trapped the sides into needing to make a deal. (Washington Post)

Raphael Ahren says Netanyahu will now have to actually start negotiating about hitherto taboo subjects like Jerusalem. (Times of Israel)

Orly Azoulay says Pres. Obama may be keeping a distance now, but at some point he will have to engage the negotiations directly if they are to succeed. (YNet)

The Daily Star says Obama's hands-off attitude may reflect his own skepticism about the prospects for success. (The Daily Star)

Andrew Hammond says Obama might be looking for a long-term legacy in Middle East peace. (Gulf News

Michael Young questions Obama's ability to succeed in any major foreign policy endeavor, including Middle East peace. (The Daily Star)

Ron Kampeas says Middle East turmoil and pessimism about the future are driving Kerry's urgency on peace. (JTA)

J.J. Goldberg tries to read the body language of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. (The Forward)

The National asks if Israel is willing to listen to friendly advice from new US Special Envoy  Indyk. (The National)

Bloomberg says the new negotiations are fine, but they shouldn't be branded as the discredited "peace process." (Bloomberg)

Aaron David Miller outlines the steps Kerry must take for talks to succeed. (Politico)

Jeffrey Goldberg says he doesn't believe a final status agreement is possible and hopes a "Plan B," such as an interim agreement, is on the cards. (Bloomberg)

Jonathan Cook says if peace talks fail they will intensify the crisis facing Palestinians. (The National)

Daniel Nisman says a weakened Hamas can now be pressured into choosing between moderating or collapsing altogether. (Christian Science Monitor)

Ari Shavit says, for the talks to succeed, US officials must show pragmatism and creativity. (Ha'aretz)

Natasha Gill says Israelis need to accept that Palestinians will never embrace the Zionist historical narrative. (Ha'aretz)

Gershon Baskin says negotiations must be explicit and terms clearly understood by both sides. (Jerusalem Post)

Oved Yehezkel says a referendum is no substitute for leadership on peace. (Ha'aretz)

Stephen Walt says real Middle East peace requires magnanimity from both sides, especially Israel. (Foreign Policy)

Akiva Eldar says Netanyahu might have rejoined negotiations mainly to court American support regarding Iran. (Al Monitor)

Ha'aretz says the most dangerous racism in Israel is the unnoticed discrimination against Arabs built into daily life. (Ha'aretz)

Jeremy Harding says life under occupation makes even book festivals difficult for Palestinians. (The Guardian)

Shlomi Eldar says now that Israel isn't seen as directly responsible for the latest crisis in Gaza, few care about it. (Al Monitor)

July 31st

Sec. Kerry says the goal of the new Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is an agreement within the next nine months. (State Department/New York Times/AP)
second round of talks is scheduled in two weeks, with all core issues on the table. (Ha'aretz/Los Angeles Times)
The US reportedly gave Israel and the Palestinians letters of assurance in order to facilitate talks. (Ha'aretz)
Negotiators also met with Pres. Obama. (JTA/Washington Post)
The Middle East Quartet welcomes the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks. (Xinhua/AP)
American officials reportedly say they pushed for talks to avoid a "train wreck" at the UN in September. (Ha'aretz/Times of Israel)
Skepticism remains high, especially among Palestinians. (Reuters/YNet/Times of Israel)
Negotiations have begun, but so far there has apparently been little progress. (Daily Beast)
Israeli media report PM Netanyahu promised the Jewish Home party thousands of new settlement units to keep them in the coalition. (Times of Israel)
Israel's chief negotiator Livni says her cabinet colleagues have "a collective responsibility" to support the peace process. (Jerusalem Post)
The Palestinian flag is raised in the Knesset during a meeting of the pro-peace caucus. (Jerusalem Post)
Human Rights Watch asks the PA to investigate the reported beating of anti-negotiation protesters. (AP/Ma'an)
The PA is set to transfer $17 million in EU aid to Palestinian hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem. (Ma'an/YNet/The Media Line)
Hamas dismisses Egyptian allegations about the group's activities as "preposterous." (Al Monitor)
Palestinians are still reportedly buying settlement goods despite PA efforts to ban them. (Al Monitor)
Extremist settlers reportedly attack Palestinian workers and vehicles near Nablus. (Ma'an)
Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf is scheduled to perform in Bethlehem on Thursday. (Ma'an)
Daniel Kurtzer and Gilead Sher say now Kerry has to lay out "an American view of the parameters of a final peace settlement." (Los Angeles Times)
Ami Ayalon, Gilead Sher and Orni Petruschka say Israel should renounce claims to key areas of the West Bank and facilitate voluntary resettlement of settlers. (Christian Science Monitor)
Brent Sasley asks what's different about these negotiations. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)
David Horovitz says there are seven things different about this American approach to seeking peace. (Times of Israel)
Robert Danin explains the reasons for widespread cautious pessimism . (CNN)
Rami Khouri suggests what to look for in the unfolding negotiations. (The Daily Star)
Dmitry Shumsky says Netanyahu wouldn't be betraying his ideological roots by agreeing to a Palestinian state. (Ha'aretz)
Nahum Barnea says Netanyahu should be more honest with the Israeli public about the reasons for his actions. (YNet)
Nathan Guttman and Joyce Karam separately look at the role of new Middle East Special Envoy Martin Indyk. (The Forward/Al Arabiya)
The Times of Israel interviews Deputy FM Elkin, who says Netanyahu is wrong to consider a Palestinian state. (Times of Israel)
Mustafa Barghouti says the world must act to end Israel's occupation. (Arab News)
The Jerusalem Post says it supports an agreement but doesn't trust Palestinian sincerity. (Jerusalem Post)
Mazal Mualem says Israel's prisoner release debate was filled with hypocrisy. (Al Monitor)
Rachel Shabi says the EU is being more proactive in promoting peace than the US. (The National)
Alan Baker says the EU is taking a hypocritical attitude towards Israel. (Ha'aretz)
Liam Hoare says Israel will always be a subject of disproportionate emotions, both positive and negative. (Ha'aretz)

July 30th

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations begin amid widespread doubts. (AP/New York Times)
The negotiations will enter their second day today, after a "constructive and productive"beginning. (AFP)
There is deep skepticism in public opinion on both sides. (Reuters)
Israel's deputy Foreign Minister rules out the possibility of a Palestinian state. (Times of Israel)
Some analysts think Israeli and Palestinian leaders are driven by not wanting to be seen in Washington as obstructionist. (Christian Science Monitor)
Many of the figures involved in the new talks are long-standing players in the process. (AP/Los Angeles Times)
Martin Indyk is formally appointed new US Special Envoy for Middle East peace, although he has previously expressed skepticism about prospects for a deal. (AP/Ha'aretz)
Israeli settlements remain a major challenge for Israeli-Palestinian peace. (Washington Post)
Pres. Abbas says no Israeli soldiers or settlers can remain inside a Palestinian state. (Reuters)
Israel's Economy Minister Bennett boasts “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.” (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinians say the Syrian government has arrested two Palestinian journalists. (Ma'an)
Israel is preparing to supply fuel to Gaza as Egypt's border closures continue to intensify shortages. (Ha'aretz)
Abbas meets with Egyptian leaders in Cairo. (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas accuses Abbas of "fabricating" a smear campaign against the group in Egypt. (Times of Israel)
Hamas launches a wave of counter-criticism against Egyptian media. (Al Monitor)
Arab clients face complex and unusual problems at some Israeli banks. (Ha'aretz)
Hussein Ibish and David Makovsky discuss the new peace talks on PBS NewsHour. (PBS)
The Boston Globe says Middle East peace is a crucial American national interest. (Boston Globe)
Roger Cohen says there's hope Netanyahu can prove a peacemaker. (New York Times)
Aaron David Miller says while there is reason for significant skepticism, the US has no choice but to try again for Middle East peace. (New York Times)
Harriet Sherwood says Abbas and Netanyahu may seem far apart on key issues, but neither underestimates Sec. Kerry's resolve. (The Guardian)
Andrew Hammond says Pres. Obama is looking to the Middle East for his long-term legacy. (The Guardian)
Salman Masalha says Israeli and Palestinian leaders should start telling their people the truth: if two states don't exist, neither will. (Ha'aretz)
Ha'aretz says Netanyahu is beginning to show the first signs of being a statesman. (Ha'aretz)
Ilene Prusher interviews Yossi Beilin on his advice for negotiators. (Ha'aretz)
Karl Vick explains the significance of the prisoner release. (Time)
Shlomo Gazit says Israel shouldn't have agreed to the prisoner release. (Ha'aretz)
Akiva Eldar says releasing prisoners is an essential part of any peace process. (Al Monitor)
Jeffrey Goldberg says Israel chose to release murderers rather than freeze settlements. (Bloomberg)
Reuven Rivlin says a clear and unequivocal referendum may be necessary to avoid civil conflict in Israel in the case of a peace deal. (Jerusalem Post)
Grant Rumley looks at potential Palestinian alternatives to the peace process. (The National Interest)
Moshe Ronen says Israel's decision not to cooperate with the EU in the occupied territories is childish and counterproductive. (YNet)
UK Amb. Gould says Israel is enriching Hamas by forcing trade into smuggling tunnels, rather than through legitimate means. (YNet)
Eric Yoffie says synagogues shouldn't apologize for shunning hatemongering Islamophobic speakers. (The Forward)
Adnan Abu Amer interviews Jordanian MB leader Arshid, who claims former Pres. Morsi was ousted "for opposing Israel." (Al Monitor)
Gershom Gorenberg says the Israeli far right doesn't only underestimate the number of Palestinians, it overestimates the number of settlers. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)
Elliott Abrams and Uri Sadot say no one really knows how many settlers there are in the occupied Palestinian territories. (Foreign Policy)
Daniel Altman says it's actually China that stands to gain the most from new Middle East peace talks. (Foreign Policy)

July 29th

Israelis and Palestinians, meeting in Washington, resume direct negotiations for the first time since 2010. (New York Times/AP)
Israelis say all core issues will be addressed while Palestinians suggest borders will have a priority. (Reuters)
Both sides, and other observers, express doubts about the likelihood of success in the talks. (AP/Time)
PM Netanyahu has reportedly agreed to the release of 104 long-standing Palestinian prisoners. (New York Times/Xinhua/Ma'an/Washington Post)
The prisoner release is seen as a crucial step in reviving the negotiations. (Xinhua/Ha'aretz)
Israel's Shin Bet chief says peace talks will improve security on the ground, but hasreservations about the prisoner release. (Ha'aretz/YNet/Times of Israel)
Hamas calls the prisoner release "a pretext." (Xinhua)
The Israeli cabinet approves draft legislation that would subject any peace agreement with the Palestinians to a referendum. (Xinhua)
Palestinians say they have been assured the US would not support Israel seeking an "interim" agreement. (Jerusalem Post)
Martin Indyk is reportedly expected to be appointed new Middle East Special Envoy. (Reuters)
USA Today outlines problems facing any future negotiation on occupied East Jerusalem. (USA Today)
Hamas is still trying to cope with the consequences of the overthrow of former Pres. Morsi. (Christian Science Monitor)
Another Palestinian refugee is killed in Syria. (Ma'an)
GCC states are reportedly putting wide-ranging sanctions against Hezbollah in place. (Times of Israel)
Israeli occupation forces shoot and wound a Palestinian farmer in Gaza. (Xinhua)
Child workers maintain many cemeteries in Gaza. (Al Monitor)
The security situation in Sinai continues to deteriorate, beyond the control of either Egypt or Israel. (National Journal)
Ron Dermer is officially appointed as the new Israeli ambassador to the United States.
Hussein Ibish says Hamas isn't doing anything to try to protect itself or the people of Gaza following Morsi's downfall. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)
Yossi Alpher says the new negotiations should focus on '67 and not '48 issues. (The Forward)
J.J. Goldberg looks at the role played in restarting negotiations by Sec. Kerry's top aide Frank Lowenstein. (The Forward)
Leonard Fein says Kerry has shown the tenacity and will required to succeed. (The Forward)
Oudeh Basharat says Pres. Abbas has played the politics well and the ball is now in Israel's court. (Ha'aretz)
Raphael Ahren says the talks may not succeed but Netanyahu has made sure Israel will be the winner if they fail. (Times of Israel)
Husam Itani says Hezbollah doesn't care about being blacklisted by the GCC. (Al Hayat)
Alexander Yakobson says Israelis and Palestinians face two choices: two states for two peoples or the law of the jungle. (Ha'aretz)
Amos Harel looks at a new Israeli movie, "Bethlehem," about the second intifada. (Ha'aretz)
Barak Ravid says the prisoner release controversy shows Netanyahu has become a hostage to his own rhetoric. (Ha'aretz)
Ravid also says Likud ministers finally realized the threat the diplomatic impasse poses to Israel. (Ha'aretz)
The Jerusalem Post says Israel never should've agreed to the prisoner release. (Jerusalem Post)
Yoaz Hendel also says the prisoner release "sends the wrong message." (YNet)
Bruce van Voorst says Kerry has much to learned from Henry Kissinger about Middle East diplomacy. (Foreign Policy)
Adel Safty says Israel is inexplicably exonerated for denying Palestinians their basic national rights. (Gulf News)
Akiva Eldar says it's no surprise US courts refuse to force the government to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel. (Al Monitor)
Jonathan Tepperman says Netanyahu is raising the issue of Iran again but won't do anything about it himself. (New York Times)
Amira Hass says Palestinian East Jerusalem residents aren't placated by Israeli reassurances, and with good reason. (Ha'aretz)
Jonathan Cook looks at Hany Abu-Assad's new film "Omar." (The National) 
Rachel Neeman says Israel's West Bank rail project shows the state has lost touch with reality. (Ha'aretz)

July 26th

Former Pres. Morsi is arrested on espionage charges, mainly related to collaboration with Hamas. (AP/AFP)
Hamas denounces Morsi's arrest. (AFP)
Egypt bans Gaza fishermen from fishing in its territorial waters. (Al Monitor)
Hamas shuts down several media outlets in Gaza, Including Al Arabiya and Ma'an. (New York Times/Xinhua/Ma'an)
The media office closures in Gaza are widely condemned by Palestinians. (Ma'an)
Hamas is trying to bolster local support through mobilizing and controlling the Gaza mosque system. (Al Monitor)
Peace talks are set to resume, but obstacles remain. (NPR)
PM Netanyahu's personal aide Molcho will be attending the new talks in Washington. (The Forward)
A broad range of Jewish Americans write a letter of encouragement to Netanyahu as he reenters negotiations. (JTA)
In comments at the UN, Sec. Kerry refers to Palestine as a "country." (AFP)
Years of quiet diplomacy led Kerry to be able to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian talks. (Daily Beast)
Israel's strategic affairs minister says the country is willing to make "serious territorial concessions." (Daily Telegraph)
Israeli officials say they will limit new settlement housing tenders to 1,000 during peace talks. (Ha'aretz/Times of Israel)
Palestinians are pushing for the introduction of 3G smart phone service in the West Bank. (Christian Science Monitor)
Israel says it will respond to new EU guidelines by not cooperating with EU projects and representatives in the West Bank. (Ha'aretz/The Guardian)
EU officials attend an Israeli occupation civil administration planning meeting about "Area C." (Ha'aretz)
Israel's plan for the forced mass resettlement of Bedouins in southern Israel is widely seen as discriminatory. (New York Times)
Israeli human rights groups say the Atty. Gen. is "playing games" with a wildcat "unauthorized" settlement outpost. (YNet)
Rights groups also say only 8.5% of investigations into crimes against Palestinians in the occupied territories lead to indictments. (Jerusalem Post)
Fighting rages in the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. (AP)
Israeli occupation forces arrest a Palestinian man they say was planning to shoot at a bus in the West Bank. (Xinhua)
The scheduled opening of an Israeli clothing chain store branch in Ramallah causes controversy on both sides. (AP)
Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian and Japanese officials meet to discuss opening a West Bank industrial park. (Xinhua)
Militants appear to continue to gain strength in the Sinai Peninsula. (Los Angeles Times)
Israeli officials complain Turkey is trying to humiliate, and not reconcile with, Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
Hussein Ibish looks at growing tensions between Hamas and the Egyptian military and new government. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)
The New York Times says Kerry deserves credit for his perseverance on Middle East peace. (New York Times)
Aaron David Miller lists five reasons why Kerry might be optimistic about real progress. (Washington Post)
Gadi Baltiansky and Nidal Foqaha say a peace deal can be a win-win for Israelis and Palestinians. (YNet)
Bradley Burston says he's confident there will be peace. (Ha'aretz)
Christopher Dickey says, despite the risks, pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace is the Obama administration's best chance to influence the direction of the Middle East. (Daily Beast)
Ahmad Majdoubeh says peace is possible and Pres. Obama and Kerry deserve applause for their initiative. (Jordan Times)
Uri Dromi says everyone should support the new peace initiative. (Miami Herald)
George Hishmeh says, with its new occupation guidelines, the EU has taken the lead in the quest for peace. (Gulf News)
Shlomi Eldar notes Netanyahu likes some EU decisions and hates others. (Al Monitor)
Jeffrey Goldberg says Israel should take warnings about the occupation from top US generals very seriously. (Bloomberg)
Patrick Smith says Israel should pay close attention to the implications of the new EU occupation guidelines. (Salon)
Abraham Foxman encourages the US Supreme Court to overturn the ruling that Americans born in Jerusalem cannot cite Israel as country of birth. (Ha'aretz)
Amira Hass says Israel's new railway plan in the occupied Palestinian territories will face hundreds of objections. (Ha'aretz)

July 25th

PM Netanyahu is pushing forward with legislation that would subject any peace agreement to areferendum. (Jerusalem Post)
Gaza's economy continues to suffer due to Egypt's crackdown on Hamas' smuggling tunnels and border restrictions. (New York Times/AP)
Pres. Abbas will visit Cairo on Sunday to discuss Egyptian-Palestinian relations, border issues and more. (PNN)
The PLO presents a plan for ending violence at Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. (Ma'an)
Three Palestinians are injured in confrontations with Israeli occupation forces near Jenin. (Ma'an)
Palestinians accuse Israel of seeking new policies to strip them of Jerusalem residency. (PNN)
Analysts doubt the US Supreme Court will reverse an appellate court ruling that Americans born in Jerusalem cannot cite Israel as their country of birth. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel is pushing forward with a massive railway project in the occupied Palestinian territories that ignores borders. (Ha'aretz/Times of Israel)
A retired senior US general says settlements are liable to turn Israel into "an apartheid state."(Ha'aretz)
Israel and Turkey disagree regarding a compensation package for the deadly flotilla incident. (AP)
Hezbollah's leader warns of "EU complicity in future Israeli aggression against Lebanon." (Xinhua/AFP)
Israel reportedly attempted to capture Hamas' military chief in 2008. (Times of Israel)
The EU has launched a €21 million construction project for seven courthouses and the headquarters' building of the Palestinian Bar Association. (PNN)
Israeli architects work to promote peace. (Ha'aretz)
Quiet high-tech deals are reshaping aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. (Forbes)
Evangelical Christian American supporters of Israel slam the Obama administration's peace efforts. (The Forward)
A car bomb explodes prematurely, killing three militants, as violence continues to spread in Sinai. (Times of Israel)
David Ignatius says Sec. Kerry has made surprising progress on reviving Middle East peace talks. (Washington Post)
The LA Times expresses strong support for Kerry's efforts. (Los Angeles Times)
Noah Klieger says the new talks will yield nothing, as usual. (YNet)
Daniel Levy says, despite reasonable skepticism, Kerry's initiative might actually work. (Foreign Policy)
Fareed Zakaria calls Kerry's efforts "a fool's errand worth pursuing." (Time)
Henry Siegman says the Obama administration has to be willing to pay the political price for pressuring Israel to make progress on peace. (Ha'aretz)
Natan Sachs says the new talks require a "safety net" and potential interim measures in case of failure. (Foreign Policy)
Karl Vick lists nine reasons why the talks might fail. (Time)
Shlomo Brom looks at the complexities about "talks about talks" from the Israeli perspective. (INSS)
Edward Beck says any agreement will depend on unity and consensus among all parties. (Jerusalem Post)
Gideon Levy says the idea of a referendum on peace is a "smokescreen" but both peoples do need to be consulted. (Ha'aretz)
Israel Harel says, despite the rhetoric, Netanyahu has already agreed to talks based on the 1967 borders. (Ha'aretz)
Gordon Robison says Israelis and Palestinians have agreed to negotiate mainly to maintain good relations with Washington. (Gulf News)
Akiva Eldar says many patriotic Israelis support the EU guidelines on noncooperation with the occupation. (Al Monitor)
Mazal Mualem interviews Peace Now chair Yariv Oppenheimer, who says the EU guidelines helped push Israel back into talks. (Al Monitor)
The Jerusalem Post complains Palestinians don't appreciate Israel's "goodwill gestures." (Jerusalem Post)
J.J. Goldberg says retired Gen. Mattis is right, the US must act with urgency towards a two-state solution in its own vital national interests. (The Forward)
J.J. Goldberg also says Netanyahu's biggest opponents on peace will be some of his own closest colleagues. (The Forward)
The LA Times agrees with an appellate court ruling that Americans born in Jerusalem cannot list Israel as their country of birth. (Los Angeles Times)
David Makovsky says Hamas needs to reevaluate its policies following the ouster of former Pres. Morsi. (Al Hayat)
Jeffrey Goldberg says ultimately peace requires removing Hamas from power in Gaza. (Bloomberg)
Hassan Tahsin says it is essential for everyone that all Gaza smuggling tunnels be permanently closed. (Al Arabiya)
Alan Elsner says all parties have a stake in reviving the health of the Palestinian economy. (The Jewish Chronicle)

July 24th

A US federal appeals court rules Americans born in Jerusalem cannot list "Israel" as their country of birth. (AP)
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are still expected to visit Washington next week. (Xinhua)
Palestinian negotiators say they are still seeking assurances on 67 Lines and prisoner release before talks resume. (PNN)
The CSM finds even some skeptical experts see value in renewed negotiations. (Christian Science Monitor)
Palestinian nonviolent protesters are worried about the potential impact of failed negotiations. (Al Monitor)
Israeli and Palestinian representatives exchange accusations at the UN. (Times of Israel)
PM Netanyahu clarifies that the fate of the West Bank must be included in any referendum on a peace deal with the Palestinians. (AP)
Finance Minister Lapid also backs the idea of a referendum. (Jerusalem Post)
55% of Israelis say they are inclined to vote for a peace agreement. (Ha'aretz)
Settlers are reportedly worried that the ultra-Orthodox will go along with a peace agreement in exchange for government funding. (Ha'aretz)
Netanyahu insists there is no unspoken settlement freeze in place, but his Housing Minister disputes this. (YNet)
Experts say by calling for referenda on agreements, both Israeli and Palestinian leaders are keeping their options open. (Xinhua)
Hamas says Fatah has to choose between national reconciliation and negotiating with Israel. (Xinhua)
Hamas says Egypt is plotting to restore its rule in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
The UN says an Egyptian tunnel crackdown and Israeli restrictions have resulted in severe shortages in Gaza. (Ma'an)
Egypt's closure of an estimated 80% of smuggling tunnels cost Gaza's economy an estimated$230 million in June.(Reuters/Ma'an)
Israel says it is preparing for an even bigger Egyptian counter-offensive against extremists in Sinai. (Jerusalem Post/Times of Israel)
Three more Palestinian refugees are reportedly killed in fighting in Syria. (Ma'an)
Facing a court deadline on Thursday, Jewish settlers in "Amona" outpost conduct a token self-eviction. (Los Angeles Times)
Controversy erupts over Israeli security involvement in settler youth programs. (YNet)
The Chinese government is accused of meeting with Israeli counterterrorism officials toorganize a cover-up in a Bank of China terrorism lawsuit. (Ha'aretz)
Israeli experts worry that Hamas and Hezbollah missile capabilities are outstripping Israel's defenses. (Ha'aretz)
Israeli and Palestinian youths gain greater understanding through attending Seeds of Peace summer camps. (YNet)
Former Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan is suing Pres. Abbas on various charges. (Times of Israel)
The CSM says American commitment and goodwill are crucial to pushing the Israelis and Palestinians towards peace. (Christian Science Monitor)
Ha'aretz says it is absurd to cancel a Palestinian children puppets festival on "security" grounds. (Ha'aretz)
Carlo Strenger says the idea of a referendum could strengthen the chances for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. (Ha'aretz)
Aviad Kleinberg says a referendum is just another obstacle to peace. (YNet)
Amira Hass says young Palestinians aren't in a hurry for a peace agreement because they know Israel isn't ready for one. (Ha'aretz)
Daniel Tauber argues that the new negotiations are not in Israel's national interests. (Jerusalem Post)
Ben Caspit says to be evenhanded about prisoner release, the US should free convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. (Jerusalem Post)
J.J. Goldberg says, surprisingly, it was Israel that convinced the EU to ban only Hezbollah's military wing. (The Forward)
Rami Khouri says the EU should be applauded for its new settlement and occupation guidelines. (The Daily Star)
Alsir Sidahmed wonders what in the United States is trying to accomplish with the new Israeli-Palestinian talks. (Arab News)
Ben Caspit says neither side can deliver what the other wants, so talks had better proceed very slowly and cautiously. (Al Monitor)
Yaron Sideman says it's time to give peace a chance with the Kerry initiative. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Michael Singh says there is a real virtue even in "talks about talks." (Washington Post)
Kenneth Bandler says there is no alternative to a two-state solution. (Orlando Sun Sentinel)
Abeer Ayyoub says Hamas is worried that the Egyptian "Tamarod" grassroots rebellion movement will spread to Gaza. (Al Monitor)
Sigal Samuel asks if applying Israel's anti-discrimination against women laws in the occupied territories is feminist or annexationist. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)
B'Tselem says Israel must take action to regulate the status of tens of thousands of Gazans living without IDs. (B'Tselem)
Stephen Walt says the United States should not link policies towards Iran and Israel and the Palestinians. (Foreign Policy)

July 23rd

The White House says it still expects Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to resume shortly, but there appear to be unresolved questions. (Times of Israel/Xinhua/Reuters)
Palestinians repeat they received written guarantees from the United States about terms for the resumption of talks. (UPI)
Palestinians say they expect negotiators from both sides will meet in Washington soon, buthaven't received an official invitation yet. (Xinhua/Ma'an)
Israel is coming under pressure to ease restrictions that impede Palestinian economic growth in the occupied territories. (Ha'aretz)
Palestinians are still insisting talks be based on the 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, and are still waiting for clarification of terms. (Ha'aretz)
Israel reportedly asked the US to free convicted spy Pollard in exchange for its release of Palestinian prisoners. (Ha'aretz)
PM Netanyahu is fast tracking legislation that would require any peace agreement be put to a referendum. (AP)
The prospect of new negotiations is intensifying divisions between Hamas and Fatah. (AFP)
EU foreign policy chief Ashton says all Israeli settlement products will be clearly labeled in EU states by the end of 2013. (Ha'aretz)
Two of the largest Dutch retail chains announce they won't sell Israeli settlement productsanymore, a move that alarms settlers. (YNet)
Two more Palestinians are killed in fighting in Syria. (Ma'an)
An Israeli court orders the eviction of a Palestinian family from its home in occupied East Jerusalem. (Ma'an)
A new contingent of international peacekeepers is being dispatched to the Golan Heights. (Xinhua)
An Egyptian police officer is shot by gunmen in Sinai. (Ma'an)
The security crisis in Sinai has greatly intensified since the ouster of former Egyptian Pres. Morsi. (Al Monitor)
Israel welcomes the EU decision to designate Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist organization following the bus bombing in Bulgaria. (Xinhua/Washington Post/Ha'aretz)
Egypt continues to intensify its crackdown on Gaza smuggling tunnels. (The National)
Construction in Gaza is at a standstill given Egypt's new security measures. (Al Monitor)
Israel opens a "virtual embassy" to GCC states on Twitter. (Ha'aretz)
The Israeli clothing chain Fox plans to open a shop in Ramallah. (Xinhua)
Israeli archaeologist Yoav Farhi makes a specialty of history through ancient coins. (Christian Science Monitor)
Diana Moukalled says the "Arab Spring" has placed Palestine squarely in its broader regional context. (Asharq Al Awsat)
Aaron David Miller says there are five indicators to watch for to track the seriousness of new Israeli-Palestinian talks. (Foreign Policy)
Bernard Avishai says Sec. Kerry understands the new talks put both Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the spot. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)
Shibley Telhami says Kerry is right to understand that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still at the heart of Middle East instability. (Foreign Policy)
The Jordan Times says the creation of a Palestinian state is inevitable. (Jordan Times)
Roger Cohen says both parties desperately need a two-state solution, but cling to other fantasies. (New York Times)
Mazal Mualem says few in his own Likud party support Netanyahu in the new negotiations or believe he is serious. (Al Monitor)
Ben Sales says proposed new Israeli-Palestinian talks are surrounded by unanswered questions. (JTA)
David Makovsky says, despite the difficulties in organizing resumed negotiations, the really difficult work lies ahead. (WINEP)
Hassan Barari says skepticism about the new talks is warranted. (Jordan Times) 
Akiva Eldar says history suggests an unhappy ending to the new round of talks. (Al Monitor)
Jeffrey Goldberg doubts Kerry's mission has much chance of success. (Bloomberg)
Yossi Beilin says both Kerry and the parties need a "Plan B," which would be an interim agreement. (Daily Beast/Open Zion)
Hillel Halkin says Kerry is wasting his time looking for the traditional two-state solution and what's needed is a more creative arrangement. (The Forward)
Bloomberg says US foreign policy should focus on Iran, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Bloomberg)
Ha'aretz says Netanyahu is wrong in arguing there is a need for a referendum on any peace agreement. (Ha'aretz)
Aeyal Gross says Netanyahu's draft referendum legislation is just another way of extending Israeli law into occupied Palestinian territories. (Ha'aretz)
Shaul Rosenfeld says the EU's growing opposition to Israel's occupation and settlement products is an unfair "double standard." (YNet)
David Newman says Israeli outrage at the EU guidelines reflects unrealistic expectations about international attitudes towards the occupation. (Jerusalem Post)
Noga Tarnopolsky looks at the complicated background and context of the EU guidelines.
Tzipi Livni and Sami Ramadani present opposing viewpoints on the EU designation of Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist group. (The Guardian)
Benajmin Weinthal asks how effective the new EU sanctions on Hezbollah will be. (Jerusalem Post)
Adnan Abu Amer says Morsi's downfall may prompt some in Hamas to seek to renew ties with Iran. (Al Monitor)
Jonathan Schanzer says Hamas' difficulties present an opportunity to try to bankrupt the group. (Foreign Policy)
Hussein Ibish says Hamas has never been more isolated, desperate or out of options. (Now Media)

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