January 8th

US officials say a draft US framework agreement may be presented to the parties soon. (YNet)

US Amb. Shapiro says Pres. Abbas and PM Netanyahu said "things no one ever heard before" in recent meetings. (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli DM Ya'alon says peace talks with Palestinians may be extended and denounces settler "terrorism." (AFP/Times of Israel)

Abbas will meet with Jordan's King Abdullah today. (Ma'an)

The largest Dutch pension fund divests from companies that are involved in the Israeli occupation. (Ha'aretz)

Israel's interior minister strongly criticizes FM Lieberman's proposal to transfer Palestinian villages in Israel to a Palestinian state. (Ha'aretz)

Lieberman defends his population transfer plan. (Times of Israel)

Palestinian officials say an Islamic Jihad militant was killed in an Israeli drone strike in Gaza. (AP/Reuters)

Israel denies it conducted a drone strike at all. (Ma'an)

The Israeli military denies any involvement in a shooting in Gaza. (Xinhua)

Egypt says after two months of continued closure, it will open the Gaza crossing for two days. (Ma'an)

Hamas says it will release seven Fatah prisoners as a "unity gesture." (Ma'an)

Extremist settlers torch Palestinian cars in Nablus. (Ma'an)

A series of photos depicts Palestinians relaxing in various ways. (New York Times)

Saudi Arabia is increasing its backing of Syrian rebels. (New York Times)

Many analysts think the extreme Al Qaeda faction in Syria, ISIS, is overstretched and threatened. (Washington Post)

More moderate Syrian rebels seize a key Al Qaeda base in Aleppo. (AP/BBC)

The main Syrian political opposition group remains undecided about upcoming peace talks. (AP)

The first shipment of Syrian chemical weapons out of the country has commenced. (Xinhua)

PM al-Maliki says victory over Al Qaeda is certain. (Reuters)

At least 18 more people are killed in ongoing violence in Iraq. (Xinhua)

A new survey suggests most Saudi men blame women for molestation incidents. (Reuters)


Adnan Abu Amer says relations between Egypt and Hamas have hit an all-time low. (Al Monitor)

Raphael Ahren looks at Palestinian options if peace talks should break down. (Times of Israel)

Peter Beinart says whatever is in textbooks, occupation is the ultimate incitement for Palestinians. (Ha'aretz)

Yigal Sarna says, instead of getting rid of Palestinian citizens, Israel should get rid of Lieberman. (YNet)

Shlomi Eldar says Palestinian citizens of Israel have voiced their strong opposition to Lieberman's transfer policy. (Al Monitor)

Amnon Abramovich asks when Netanyahu will grow up and start meeting his urgent responsibilities. (YNet)

Daniella Peled says Israeli right-wingers are deluding themselves about living conditions in Gaza. (Ha'aretz)

Amos Harel says, under increasing pressure, Israeli settler extremists could intensify their violence. (Ha'aretz)

Liam Hoare says Britain should apologize for the Balfour Declaration. (The Forward)

Gil Troy says former PM Sharon saved Israel twice. (Jerusalem Post)

Thomas Friedman highly recommends the new book by Marwan Muasher. (New York Times)

James Jeffrey says the US must act decisively in Iraq and other key Middle Eastern battlegrounds. (Washington Post)

Nabeel Khoury says, rather than supporting him by talking to him, the US should be encouraging Iran and Russia to abandon Pres. Assad. (Los Angeles Times)

Amr Moussa says he's sure Egyptians will approve the new Constitution he led the drafting of. (New York Times)

Reuters interviews Jehane Noujaim, maker of the film "The Square," about the movie and current developments in Egypt. (Reuters)

The CSM says religious leaders are best placed to help end Sunni-Shiite violence in Iraq. (Christian Science Monitor)

Osama Al Sharif bemoans the "fratricidal wars" in Iraq and Syria. (Jordan Times)

Semih Idiz says Turkey's government is deeply threatened by the spread of war in Syria. (Al Monitor)

Roula Khalaf says, as the US continues to seem to turn away from the Middle East, Arabs must become more self-reliant. (Gulf News)

Rami Khouri says the Middle East is entering a "post-everything" era. (The Daily Star)

Chantal Berman looks at the post-revolutionary protest movements in Tunisia. (Foreign Policy)

January 7th


Palestinian sources claim Sec. Kerry is proposing the return of 80,000 Palestinian refugees to Israel. (Xinhua)

Reports suggest the US may be trying to add language about a "Jewish state" to the Arab Peace Initiative. (Times of Israel)

Israeli officials doubt an agreement can be reached within nine months. (Reuters)

Israeli cabinet minister Bennett dismisses all notions of a land swap with the Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian citizens of Israel call FM Lieberman's land swap proposals "delusional." (Ha'aretz)

Jordanian officials say PM Netanyahu is ready for a land swap with Palestinians. (YNet)

Israeli settlers voice their objections to Kerry's peace efforts. (Christian Science Monitor)

Hebron settlers say Netanyahu "may meet a worse fate" then former PM Sharon. (JTA)

Israeli extremists mock Kerry's peace efforts. (BBC)

Israel approves 272 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank. (AFP)

Jewish vandals damage Palestinian cars and spray graffiti in Jaffa. (Ma'an)

rocket fired from Gaza lands in southern Israel without causing any injuries or damage. (Xinhua)

A Palestinian man is crushed to death due to overcrowding at an Israeli West Bank checkpoint. (Ma'an)

Israeli officials complain about incitement by Palestinians. (New York Times)

Israeli forces arrest three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. (Ma'an)

Egyptian forces shoot and wound two Palestinian youths exiting a Gaza smuggling tunnel. (Ma'an)

Czech officials demand an explanation for weapons discovered at the Palestinian mission in Prague. (New York Times/AFP)

Palestinian villagers capture and briefly detain a group of Israeli settlers they say attacked them in the occupied West Bank. (New York Times)

Hamas holds another military training program for Gaza youth. (Xinhua)

Hamas says it is making "goodwill gestures" to Fatah. (Xinhua/Ha'aretz)

Saudi Arabia says it is donating $40 million to the Palestinian budget. (PNN)

The US and Iran are increasingly seen by some as facing common enemies in the Middle East. (New York Times)

Egypt summons Iran's charge d'affaires over recent statements criticizing Egyptian policies. (Xinhua)

Saudi Arabia's military aid package to Lebanon is seen by some as a message to the US. (New York Times)

Syrian extremists are accused of mass executions of rival rebels. (Los Angeles Times)

Sunni revolt in Iraq could spiral into a new war in the country. (Washington Post)

Kuwait swears in a new cabinet with seven new members. (AP/Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Turkish government fires 350 police officers. (AP)


The LA Times says Kerry's framework agreement provides a glimmer of hope for Middle East peace. (Los Angeles Times)

The CSM says Kerry and Pope Francis make a formidable peace team. (Christian Science Monitor)

The Washington Post says Israelis and Palestinians have to prove themselves willing to engage Kerry's peace efforts. (Washington Post)

Asharq Al-Awsat interviews chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Munib al Masri says all Palestinians want is their freedom. (Ha'aretz)

Vincent Fean says the Palestinian leadership is right to engage in peace talks with Israel. (Ma'an)

Nahum Barnea says, instead of whining about Palestinian incitement, Israeli leaders should do something about Israeli incitement. (YNet)

Jonathan Cook says Israel's educational system is filled with incitement of its own. (The National)

Moshe Arens strongly disapproves of his interpretation of Kerry's proposals. (Ha'aretz)

David Newman says the Jordan Valley has lost most of its strategic significance for Israel. (Jerusalem Post)

Akiva Eldar says Israel's relationship with Jordan is much more important to it than the Jordan Valley. (Al Monitor)

Hazem Balousha says what Palestinians in Gaza want most in 2014 is electricity. (Al Monitor)

Neri Zilber looks at the problems facing a Jordanian Muslim named Yitzhak Rabin. (The Atlantic)

The LA Times says the Obama administration should "stop coddling" the Egyptian government. (Los Angeles Times)

Nervana Mahmoud says the Al-Noor party in Egypt should be carefully watched. (Al Monitor)

Hassan Hassan says PM Al-Maliki's war against Al Qaeda is tainted by sectarian politics. (The National)

Huda Al-Saleh looks at women members of Al Qaeda. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid says he thinks Iran is secretly running Al Qaeda. (Arab News)

Sobhi Ghandour stresses the importance of Arab Christian communities to the region. (Gulf News)

Peter Beinart says there is a "moral case" for ending the US "cold war" with Iran. (Ha'aretz)

Hussein Ibish says the emerging Tunisian Constitution is extremely promising. (NOW)


Sec. Kerry cites "some progress" in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but warns of the prospect of failure. (AP/Washington Post)

Kerry ends his trip without yet securing a framework agreement. (AFP)

FM Lieberman says Kerry's offer is "the best Israel is going to get." (Ha'aretz/Times of Israel)

Kerry seeks and gets Saudi endorsement for his peace efforts. (Xinhua/Jerusalem Post)

Kerry thanks the Saudi King for his "enthusiastic support" of the peace process. (State Department/The Guardian)

Former Mossad chief Dagan says Israel doesn't need to keep the Jordan Valley. (Times of Israel)

Israel issues demolition orders for a large group of Palestinian buildings in occupied East Jerusalem. (Ma'an)

The Jordan Valley continues to be a key sticking point between Israelis and Palestinians. (New York Times)

Palestinian citizens of Israel reject Lieberman's proposal to include many of their towns in a land swap. (Jerusalem Post)

Pope Francis will visit the "holy land" in May. (BBC)

Israeli rights groups accuse authorities of continuing to torture Palestinians despite a court order. (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli settlers attack a school and a reservoir near Nablus. (Ma'an)

Palestinian farmers clash with attacking settlers near Hebron. (Ma'an)

Human Rights Watch says a Palestinian teenager shot by Israeli soldiers "posed no threat." (Ma'an)

12 weapons found at the Palestinian mission in Prague were "legal." (Ap)

The Palestine Power Generation Company signs a 20-year-deal with Israeli and American natural gas companies. (Ma'an/Xinhua)

Israel denies it killed all those responsible in a 1994 bombing in Argentina. (JTA)

Former PM Sharon's health continues to rapidly decline. (Reuters/AP)

A new "post-US" Middle East seems to be emerging in which militants thrive. (New York Times)

The NYT profiles the life and death of a key Hezbollah operative. (New York Times)

Almost all other Sunni rebel groups attack the extremist ISIS militia. (ISW/Financial Times)

Fighting between Syrian rebels spreads through the east of the country. (AP)

Kerry says Iran may have a role in upcoming Syrian peace talks. (New York Times)

The US Embassy issues a warning to Americans in Lebanon. (AP)

Iraqi soldiers and tribesmen are making progress in pushing back Al Qaeda in key Western cities. (New York Times)

17 are killed in more bomb attacks in Baghdad. (Xinhua)

The Muslim Brotherhood is fighting to survive in Egypt. (New York Times)

Two prominent secular activists in Egypt get one-year suspended sentences for arson. (Ahram Online)

Egypt summons the Qatari ambassador in Cairo, after Doha issues a pro-Muslim Brotherhood statement. (AP/Xinhua)


Looking at Israel's "Jewish character," Bernard Avishai says it is the only country that "does not recognize itself." (The New Yorker)

Leonard Fein says supporters of a two-state solution should boycott the Israeli settlement of Ariel. (The Forward)

The Jerusalem Post praises Kerry's efforts. (Jerusalem Post)

Oudeh Basharat says Kerry is part of the problem, not the solution. (Ha'aretz)

Hassan Barari says many Jordanians are deeply concerned an Israeli-Palestinian deal would be at their expense. (Arab News)

Avi Issacharoff says Israeli and Palestinian red lines make a Kerry-brokered deal unlikely. (Times of Israel)

Ha'aretz says Lieberman has once again thrown a wrench in the works by trying to push Palestinian towns in Israel into a Palestinian state. (Ha'aretz)

Ami Ayalon says it's time for Jordan Valley settlers to come home to Israel. (YNet)

Anat Matar says, unlike Palestinians, Israeli soldiers and settlers with blood on their hands almost never serve time in prison. (Ha'aretz)

Yitzhak Laor says, for Israel, Palestinian blood is cheap. (Ha'aretz)

Haviv Rettig Gur looks at how Netanyahu runs the Israeli government. (Times of Israel)

Christa Case Bryant says Israelis are still struggling to define the legacy of Sharon. (Christian Science Monitor)

Marit Danon says she turned from an ardent Sharon critic to a devoted fan. (YNet)

Ben Caspit says Sharon's decisions crucially shaped contemporary Israel. (Al Monitor)

Hussein Ibish calls the Israeli-Palestinian squabble over Jesus "ridiculous." (The National)

Seth Lipsky says Sharon had an uncanny ability to connect with people who instinctively didn't like him. (Ha'aretz)

Vali Nasr asks if Turkey is emerging as Iran's latest ally. (New York Times)

Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon say Egypt's interim government has gone too far in suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood and may create a new form of extremism. (New York Times)

Omer Aziz says the world must hold Qatar to account for treatment of laborers, especially in connection with the World Cup. (New York Times)

The Daily Star says the uprising against Al Qaeda in Syria must not be allowed to be another missed opportunity. (The Daily Star)

Nicholas Blanford says the Assad regime may survive. (Christian Science Monitor)

Michael Weiss describes how the US Syria policy "fell apart." (Politico)

Faeq Muneef says a deadlier strain than ever of Al Qaeda has emerged in Syria. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Bruce Riedel looks at the continuing evolution of Al Qaeda "3.0." (Al Monitor)

Patricio Asfura-Heim and Christopher Steinitz ask if anyone can stop Lebanon's descent into chaos. (Foreign Policy)

The National accuses PM Al-Maliki of "sectarian politics" in Iraq. (The National)

Sinan Ulgen thinks Turkey can help bridge some Middle Eastern divisions. (The Daily Star)

Mustafa Akyol explains Turkey's AKP-Gulen conflict. (Al Monitor)

Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Bahrain's public security chief Maj. Gen. Tarek Al Hasan. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Abdullah Al Shayji says Gulf states and other Arabs were shocked by the US "flippant" attitude in 2013. (Gulf News)

January 3rd


Sec. Kerry returns to the Middle East for more peace efforts. (AFP)

PM Netanyahu greets Kerry with a barrage of criticism against Palestinians. (New York Times)

FM Lieberman, in contrast to his earlier attitudes, praises Kerry's efforts. (Ha'aretz)

Kerry insists peace is still possible. (Ma'an/AP)

The PLO says it will not accept any "worthless" framework agreement. (Jerusalem Post)

Jordan says any Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley would violate the peace agreement between the two countries. (Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian teenager is killed in clashes with Israeli forces near the Gaza border. (Xinhua)

Israel confirms it has launched an airstrike on Gaza. (Xinhua/AFP)

Hamas says it does not want a further conflict with Israel. (Times of Israel)

Egypt accuses Hamas of complicity in the bombing of the security headquarters in Mansoura. (Ahram Online)

Hamas rejects Egyptian accusations it aided attacks against the country. (Xinhua)

The daughter of the Palestinian ambassador in Prague calls his death suspicious and says hemay have been assassinated. (AP/Ma'an)

PLO mission staff say they are not aware of any explosive device in the building. (The Guardian)

stockpile of weapons was found in the PLO mission where the ambassador was killed. (AP/Reuters)

Residents in Prague want the PLO mission moved after the explosion. (Xinhua)

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat reportedly says he fears Pres. Abbas might be killed by Israel. (Ma'an)

Israeli analysts say Hezbollah is moving long-range rockets from Syria to Lebanon. (New York Times)

US analysts also say Hezbollah is beefing up its arsenal in case of a conflict with Israel. (Times of Israel)

A former Israeli envoy to Argentina says Israel has killed most of those responsible for a 1994 Buenos Aires bombing. (Times of Israel)

Israel conducts a second test of a new ballistic missile interceptor. (Xinhua)

Three UNRWA employees are hospitalized while on hunger strike. (Ma'an)

museum dedicated to Palestinian culture and identity is set to open in the occupied West Bank in 2015. (The Forward)

Google will fund a new scholarship at Ben-Gurion University. (JTA)

A new car bomb in Hezbollah's stronghold in Beirut kills six and raises further tensions in Lebanon. (AP/Xinhua/New York Times)

Former PM Sharon's health condition is deteriorating and he appears near death. (AP)

Years after going into a coma, Sharon remains a highly polarizing figure in Israel. (Christian Science Monitor)

Two more Americans are arrested in Libya. (AP)

Al Qaeda is making a resurgence in key Iraqi cities. (New York Times/AP)

Egyptian authorities broadcast what they say is a confession by the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader on terrorism. (AP)

Egyptian police are investigating a TV puppet for "terrorism." (New York Times/Washington Post)

US-Iranian tensions continue to simmer despite ongoing nuclear talks. (Christian Science Monitor)

Analysts see a mismatch in commitments by allies of both sides behind the resurgence of the Syrian dictatorship. (Wall Street Journal)

An Israeli study suggests there are more foreign Shiite than Sunni fighters participating in the Syrian conflict. (IIHCC/Washington Post)


Yehezkel Dror says Israel must now at last relinquish the dream of a "Greater Israel." (Ha'aretz)

Barak Ravid says the ball is now squarely in Netanyahu and Abbas' court and they must choose. (Ha'aretz)

Chemi Shalev says that Netanyahu is having more trouble with the concept of the 1967 borders then Sharon did. (Ha'aretz)

Mitch Ginsburg says Jordan Valley settlers live under the constant specter of possible evacuation. (Times of Israel)

Mick Davis says rejecting two states endangers both Israel and the Jewish diaspora. (Ha'aretz)

Jackson Diehl says Kerry may make progress on a framework agreement, as long as details are avoided. (Washington Post)

Yoaz Hendel says the release of Palestinian prisoners from occupied East Jerusalem shows Israel's quandary over the city. (YNet)

Peter Beinart says 2014 may prove the year the Jewish-American leadership loses control over the Israel issue. (Ha'aretz)

Patrick Maisonnave says EU still wants to remain close to Israel, if Israel cooperates. (Ha'aretz)

Matthew Gould says flourishing ties between Britain and Israel are the best answer to boycotts. (YNet)

Matthew Bunn and Frederick McGoldrick say the US should be flexible on Iran's civilian nuclear program. (Los Angeles Times)

Eyad Abu Shakra says 2014 will be a year of anxiety throughout the Arab world. (Asharq Al Awsat)

Rami Khouri identifies four markers to follow in the Middle East in 2014. (The Daily Star)

Osama Al Sharif also provides an overview of 2013 and predictions for 2014. (Arab News)

The Daily Star says Lebanon is facing its last chance to form a government and avoid total collapse. (The Daily Star)

Jean Aziz says two recent bombing attacks in Lebanon might be linked. (Al Monitor)

Alan Phillips says the rest of the region could learn much from Iraqi Kurdish pragmatism. (The National)

Marwan Asmar says the Syrian regime is digging in for the long haul. (Gulf News)

Annia Ciezadlo profiles Syrian dictator Al-Assad. (The New Republic)

Michael Weiss describes how Pres. Obama's "Syria policy fell apart." (Politico)

H A Hellyer says the revolutionary driving forces behind the 2011 Egyptian "revolution" need to find a new approach. (The National)

Caryle Murphy says women in the Gulf states have nowhere to go but up. (Asharq Al Awsat)

January 2nd


Sec. Kerry is returning to the region for more work on peace talks. (The Guardian)

Israel is preparing to release 26 long-serving Palestinian prisoners. (AP)

The EU again warns Israel about a planned wave of new settlement construction. (Ha'aretz/Times of Israel)

Israel's chief negotiator Livni says settlement construction hurts peace prospects. (Xinhua)

Livni also again warns lack of peace threatens Israel's economy and other interests. (YNet)

Israeli left-wingers also slam settlement construction. (Xinhua)

Rumors continue to spread of a trade-off between Palestinian recognition of Israel's Jewish character for Israel's recognition of the 1967 borders as the basis for peace. (Times of Israel)

An Israeli ministerial committee approves pending legislation to annex the Jordan Valley. (Xinhua)

PM Netanyahu urges Likud MKs to vote against the proposed bill. (Ha'aretz)

Palestinians say any such annexation would "kill peace." (Xinhua/Ma'an)

Israeli occupation forces arrest nine Palestinians in the West Bank on Sunday. (Ma'an)

The PLO urges Hamas to sever its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. (Ma'an)

Russian experts confirm their earlier reports that the late Pres. Arafat died of natural causes. (PNN)

A Fatah official urges Palestinians to choose "smart resistance" in 2014. (Ma'an)

The UN is seeking access to Palestinians in Syria after 15 die of hunger. (Reuters/AFP)

There is an exchange of rocket fire over the Israeli-Lebanese border. (New York Times)

American Jewish student groups are testing the limits of "permissible" discourse on Israel. (New York Times)

Low turnout at the funeral for a moderate Lebanese leader recently assassinated showsebbing national morale. (New York Times)

Saudi Arabia pledges $3 billion to beef up the Lebanese military. (AP)

Lebanese forces fire on Syrian aircraft violating Lebanese airspace. (AP)

Syria appears behind schedule in the effort to decommission its chemical weapons. (New York Times)

14 are killed in bombings and shootings in Iraq on Sunday. (AP)

Bahrain says it has foiled smuggling and terrorist plots. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia is strengthening its ties with France and other non-American allies. (AP)

Sources say Egypt is likely to hold presidential elections before parliamentary ones. (Reuters)

Egyptian Christians live lives of increasing fear. (BBC)

The CSM profiles the Gulen movement, whose break with PM Erdogan has sparked a political crisis in Turkey. (Christian Science Monitor)

Maverick journalists in Gaza are aiming to shake up Palestinian media. (The Media Line)


Ha'aretz says it is the Palestinians, not Israel, that lack a real peace partner. (Ha'aretz)

Hassan Barari says Netanyahu's settlement policies are a key hurdle in peace talks. (Arab News)

Amer Al Sabaileh looks at Jordan's role in any potential peace agreement. (Jordan Times)

J.J. Goldberg asks if Netanyahu is abandoning his posture as a peace-seeker altogether. (The Forward)

John Whitbeck critiques Israel's demands Palestinians recognize it as a "Jewish state." (Jordan Times)

Amira Hass describes the systematic harassment of Palestinian villagers by Israeli settlers and troops alike. (Ha'aretz)

Janne Louise Andersen surveys the past year in Palestinian hip-hop. (Al Monitor)

Theodore Bikel says Israel must develop the Negev desert for all its citizens, Jewish and Arab. (JTA)

David Horovitz interviews former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren. (Times of Israel)

Felice Friedson interviews new Labor Party leader Herzog. (The Media Line)

Amos Harel says Israel faces dangerous new strategic realities. (Ha'aretz)

Yoel Guzansky says there's a real basis for increased Israeli-Saudi cooperation. (Jerusalem Post)

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen says US-Iranian nuclear talks might be a game changer in US-Israeli relations, but Munira Fakhro thinks otherwise. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Jeremy Bowen says the deepening Sunni-Shiite split bodes ill for the Arab world. (BBC)

Kim Ghattas says the recent assassination of a moderate Lebanese politician shows the country is being dragged into the Syrian conflict. (BBC)

Rami Khouri says the Chatah assassination shows no parts of Lebanon are off-limits in the brewing conflict. (The Daily Star)

Mohamed Abdel Salam says universities are Egypt's new battleground. (The Daily Star)

Oussama Romdhani looks at Tunisia's political transition plan. (Al Monitor)

Hanin Ghaddar says Qatari foreign policy is now at a crossroads. (NOW)

Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Houthi Movement spokesman Ali Al-Bakhiti on the rebellion in Yemen. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Hussein Ibish looks at the resurgence of Al Qaeda in the Syrian war and elsewhere. (NOW)

Samir Salha says the Gülen-Erdoğan split is now a no holds barred confrontation. (Asharq Al-Awsat)


The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank in 2013, 27, is the highest in five years. (Xinhua/Ma'an/AFP)

The State Department says Sec. Kerry will offer the parties the outlines of a final statuspeace agreement. (AP)

The American proposal will reportedly cover all final status issues. (Times of Israel)

PM Netanyahu tries to calm right-wing Israeli fears about Kerry's planned proposal. (Ha'aretz)

An Israeli cabinet minister vows to establish a new settlement in the context of Kerry's visit. (Times of Israel)

Suspected Jewish extremists burn three Palestinian cars and spray graffiti against Kerryand threatening violence. (Xinhua/Ma'an/AP)

A human rights group warns Israel will pay a price for settler violence. (Christian Science Monitor)

Israel releases 26 long-serving Palestinian prisoners, while vowing more settlement activity. (AP)

32 "pre-Oslo" Palestinian prisoners remain jailed by Israel. (Ha'aretz)

Pres. Abbas says a final status agreement will require the release of all Palestinian prisoners. (YNet)

Many are angry with either the prisoner release or the new settlement announcements, or both. (New York Times)

Abbas says the Jordan Valley will remain under Palestinian sovereignty, and vows to complete peace negotiations. (Xinhua/Ma'an)

Settler leaders demand Israel annex the Jordan Valley. (Jerusalem Post)

A new poll suggests some settlers want to leave the Jordan Valley. (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu says Israel wants to greatly increase trade with China, especially selling them weapons. (Xinhua)

Syrian activists say a missile has hit a bus near Aleppo, killing 10. (AP)

With winter setting in, aid groups struggle to reach Syrian refugees. (New York Times)

Syria misses its first deadline for relinquishing its chemical weapons stockpiles. (Reuters/BBC)

The Syrian conflict is exacting a huge toll for Jordan. (Xinhua)

At least 17 people are killed in fighting in Iraq. (New York Times)

suicide bombing in southern Yemen kills two guards. (AP)

Bahrain is investigating claims by bombing case defendants that they were tortured. (Reuters)

Egyptian security forces arrest the son of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. (Reuters)

Egypt seizes the assets of 500 Muslim Brotherhood leaders. (AP)

Egypt arrests four Al Jazeera journalists accused of having illegal ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. (Washington Post)

The PKK urges Kurds not to get involved in the feud between PM Erdoğan and influential cleric Gülen. (Asharq Al-Awsat)


Aaron David Miller sees signs Kerry is making significant progress in narrowing the Israeli-Palestinian gaps. (Foreign Policy)

Nahum Barnea says Kerry's progress means Netanyahu now faces crucial decisions on peace. (YNet)

The Jerusalem Post says that a proposed Israeli lawl annexing the Jordan Valley "does more harm than good." (Jerusalem Post)

Linda Gradstein says Israelis are deeply divided over the Jordan Valley issue. (The Media Line)

Sefi Rachlevsky says, in some ways, Abbas is "the last Jew." (Ha'aretz)

Nathan Jeffay explains how and why Israel's "social justice" movement has faded away. (The Forward)

Elhanan Miller says Hamas is struggling to deal with Egypt's designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. (Times of Israel)

Carolyn Karcher explains why she voted in favor of an academic boycott of Israel by ASA. (Los Angeles Times)

Eric Yoffie says campus Hillel groups shouldn't offer a platform to "enemies of Israel." (Ha'aretz)

Diana Moukalled says more attention needs to be paid to the Syrian tragedy in 2014. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Roula Khalaf says the West’s botched Syria policy has only helped Pres. Assad. (Gulf News)

Hussein Ibish says a dangerous new precedent in international relations is being set in Syria. (NOW)

Josh Rogin says an attempted US outreach to the Islamic Front in Syria was bungled. (Daily Beast)

Sarah Birke looks at how Al Qaeda has transformed the war in Syria. (New York Review of Books)

Catherine Traywick explains why Syria is now the most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist. (Foreign Policy)

Pres. Rouhani promises Iran will be guided by "moderation and common sense." (The Daily Star)

Jeffrey Goldberg says 2013 was a very good year for Iran. (Bloomberg)

The National says critics of Saudi aid to Lebanon are misguided. (The National)

The Daily Star welcomes the Saudi aid package for the Lebanese military. (The Daily Star)

Hugh Miles looks at why Al Jazeera is being targeted by the Egyptian authorities. (BBC)

Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Egyptian presidential advisor Mostafa Hegazy. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Rania El Gamal says the political impasse in Bahrain threatens more instability in the country in 2014. (Reuters)

Rami Khouri thinks a series of bad decisions by many players portends more Middle East violence for 2014. (The Daily Star)

John Yemma says faith inspires Palestinian and other Middle Eastern Christians. (Christian Science Monitor)

Sec. Kerry is pushing for a "framework" agreement between Israel and the Palestinians to keep talks going. (New York Times)

The "framework" proposal is thought to be the outlines of a final status agreement. (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli leaders say Kerry should be taken very seriously and may want a Nobel Prize. (YNet)

An Israeli official again reiterates it wants to retain the crucial Jordan Valley. (AP)

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister resurrects the idea 1967 borders are "Auschwitz borders."(Ha'aretz)

Right-wing Israeli politicians make a symbolic visit to the Jordan Valley. (Xinhua)

Israel has reportedly proposed a land swap offer to the United States. (Ma'an/Times of Israel)

PM Netanyahu's insistence on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state" is proving a key sticking point. (New York Times)

Israeli finance minister Lapid again dismisses the demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel as "Jewish" as "rubbish." (Jerusalem Post)

Israel says it's going to wait for Kerry to leave before another announcement of settlement expansions. (New York Times)

Pres. Abbas warns of possible legal and diplomatic action if Israel persists in settlement activity. (AFP)

"secret Palestinian security report" purportedly warns of the dangers of a third intifada. (YNet)

Palestinians say there has been an increase in the number of Palestinians employed in Israeli settlements. (PNN)

The PLO says the US is planning to provide $440 million in aid to the PA this year. (Ma’an)

A poll suggests both Israelis and Palestinians support the two-state solution, but remain suspicious of the other side. (AP)

Israeli and Palestinian leaders continue to exchange accusations. (Ma’an)

Palestinians say an 85-year-old man died after Israeli occupation forces fired tear gas. (Reuters/(Xinhua)

In a rare move, an Israeli military tribunal acquits Palestinians of throwing stones at settlers. (Ha'aretz)

The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic dies in an explosion when he opened an old safe. (Reuters/AP)

Hamas approves a 2014 budget of $589 million for the Gaza Strip that includes a 75 percent deficit. (New York Times)

Egypt says the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas plotted to blow up churches in Sinai during Christmas. (Ma’an)

Hamas leader Haniyeh rules out the possibility that Egypt could declare it a terrorist organization. (Ma’an)

The Palestinian Statistics Bureau says there are 11.8 million Palestinians in the world. (PNN)

relocation city for Bedouins founded by Israel decades ago inspires no confidence in such schemes. (The Forward)

Former PM Sharon is said to be near death and in critical condition. (New York Times/AP/Ha'aretz)

7,818 civilians were killed in Iraq in 2013, the highest annual death toll in years. (AP)

PM Al-Maliki asks Sunni members not to leave the Iraqi parliament. (Washington Post)

Syrian activists say 130,000 people have died since the beginning of the conflict in that country. (Reuters)

17 rebels are reportedly killed by Syrian troops in the southern city of Daraa. (Xinhua)

At least 20 people are killed when a missile strikes a residential building in Aleppo. (Los Angeles Times)

Lebanon arrests leaders of an Al Qaeda-linked group in connection with the bombing of the Iranian Embassy. (New York Times)

Two people are killed as police and protesters clash in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. (Reuters)


Roger Cohen says Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state depends on ending the occupation. (New York Times)

Karin Laub says Israel and the Palestinians face hard choices in Kerry's framework proposal. (AP)

Gershon Baskin says Israel needs Kerry and the US even if they don't want to admit it. (Jerusalem Post)

Eitan Haber says Kerry's determination to achieve peace puts Israel in a very difficult quandary. (YNet)

Shlomi Eldar says, despite a prisoner release, more Israeli settlement activity could kill peace talks. (Al Monitor)

David Horovitz tries to imagine what Netanyahu is thinking right now. (Times of Israel)

Tamar Hermann says the Israeli left has to choose between supporting Netanyahu and increasing chances for peace or opposing him and increasing their electoral prospects. (YNet)

Ari Shavit says if Kerry's proposals include a Jewish state in the 1967 borders, it would be a Zionist victory. (Ha'aretz)

Ami Ayalon says Israel needs to take bold unilateral measures to salvage the peace process. (New York Times)

Ha'aretz says Israel should stop using municipal planning as an excuse to seize land and dispossess Palestinians. (Ha'aretz)

Joshua Mitnick interviews Jerusalem expert Daniel Siedemann. (Christian Science Monitor)

Zuher Andrawous says Palestinians are becoming more divided along sectarian lines. (Ha'aretz)

Gideon Levy says Israelis seem to tolerate torture. (Ha'aretz)

Bloomberg profiles Palestinian businessmen Munib R. Masri. (Bloomberg)

Hassan Hassan says Hezbollah's misleading anti-takfiri rhetoric could fool some people. (The National)

Mohammed Habash says radicalized Syrian youths are one of Pres. Assad's greatest assets. (The National)

The National says the Iraqi army offensive in Anbar against Sunni forces will only backfire. (The National)

Michel Kilo says it's time to take a stand against the most extreme rebel group in Syria, ISIS. (Asharq Al Awsat)

Hania Mourtada profiles the Syrian Islamic Front, a potential new Western Islamist ally. (Foreign Policy)

Osama Al Sharif gives his overview on what to expect in the Middle East in 2014. (Jordan Times)

Calder Walton describes how Jewish terrorists in Palestine helped give birth to the British surveillance state. (Foreign Policy)

Greg Carlstrom explains why the Egyptian government is blaming everything it can on the Muslim Brotherhood. (Foreign Policy)

Nathan Brown looks forward to the upcoming Egyptian constitutional referendum. (Carnegie)

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