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ATFP News Roundup October 21, 2016


U.S. and Egypt warn Palestinians not to push Security Council on settlements before U.S. elections. (Ha'aretz)

President Abbas is pushing for leadership elections in his Fatah movement and the PLO before the end of the year, as part of what senior officials say is largely an elaborate attempt to block the return of an exiled rival backed by several Arab states. (Times of Israel)

Israeli troops on Thursday shot dead a Palestinian whom they suspected had thrown rocks at them as they patrolled a main West Bank road, the military said. (Reuters/Ma'an/Ha'aretz)

video posted on social media on Thursday reportedly showed moments when a young Palestinian woman was shot to death by Israeli forces a day earlier. (Ma'an)

Gaza court sentenced a man to death by hanging after he was convicted of premeditated murder, while another man was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the besieged enclave for collaborating with Israel. (Ma'an)

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement said that its military wing had completed the construction of a watchtower in the besieged Gaza Strip. (Ma'an)

Israel arrested an Arab couple who returned to the country after allegedly joining the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. (JTA)

Three Palestinians who accepted an invitation to the sukkah of the head of a West Bank settlement were summoned by Palestinian Authority intelligence on Thursday to explain why they had visited “murderers of babies.” (Times of Israel)

The Syrian military said on Thursday a unilateral ceasefire backed by Russia had come into force to allow people to leave besieged eastern Aleppo, a move rejected by rebels who say they are preparing a counter-offensive to break the blockade. (Reuters)

Turkish air strikes pounded a group of Kurdish fighters allied to a U.S.-backed militia in northern Syria overnight, highlighting the conflicting agendas of NATO members Ankara and Washington in an increasingly complex battlefield. (Reuters)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pushed on Thursday for the 193-member General Assembly to hold a rare emergency special session on Syria since a deadlocked Security Council has failed to take action to end the nearly six-year war. (Reuters)

After Moscow instituted a brief cease-fire, many said leaving the besieged Syrian city could still be more dangerous than staying and exposing themselves to continued airstrikes. (New York Times)

The offensive to seize back Mosul from Islamic State is going faster than planned, Iraq's prime minister said on Thursday, as Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched a new military operation to clear villages on the city's outskirts. (Reuters)

If the recaptures of Ramadi, Tikrit and Falluja are a guide, Iraqi officials will confront devastation and unexploded bombs once Mosul is reclaimed. (New York Times)

Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen violated international humanitarian law with a so-called "double tap" air strike on a funeral gathering in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, United Nations sanctions monitors told the Security Council. (Reuters)

Shortages of sugar, a staple of the national diet, and of other products have led to brewing anger against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. (New York Times)


Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu prefers to ignore the fact that from a diplomatic-international standpoint, the Jewish holy sites in the Old City are under occupation. (Al-Monitor)

Cnaan Liphshiz says with the UNESCO vote, Palestinians’ bid for attention backfires. (JTA)

Aziza Nofal says sixty percent of Palestinian lands in the West Bank risk confiscation by Israeli authorities under the absentee property and abandoned lands laws, which some Palestinian activists say were issued with the aim to expand Israeli settlements. (Al-Monitor)

Fareed Zakaria looks at why Trump’s ‘sneak attacks’ won’t defeat the Islamic State. (Washington Post)

Alan Philps reviews the recent events in Syria and Iraq. (The National)

Ariane Tabatabai says U.S.-Iran relations shouldn’t take place only at the highest levels. (New York Times)


Simon Henderson says the only way to solve Yemen's war, and beat back its al-Qaeda franchise, is to dissolve the country entirely. (Foreign Policy)

ATFP News Roundup October 20, 2016



Israeli PM Netanyahu expressed concern that U.S. President Barack Obama, during the final days of his term in office, might take diplomatic steps that could harm the fate of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. (Reuters/Times of Israel/Ha'aretz)

Palestinians urged the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to adopt a resolution with serious measures to compel Israel to halt all settlement activities and threatening “consequences” if it refuses. (Times of Israel)

Israel, U.S. spar at UN Security Council after Danny Danon calls on UN to stop funding human rights organization B'Tselem. (Ha'aretz)

growing movement of Israeli women says that now is the time to restart the peace process. (Washington Post/Times of Israel)

Israeli authorities revoked Israeli-issued exit permits for 12 senior officials in the Gaza Strip’s Civil Affairs Administration on Wednesday. (Ma'an)

Israeli forces shot and killed a young Palestinian woman at the Zaatara military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Wednesday after she allegedly attempted to stab Israeli border police. (Ma'an)

A spokesperson for the Hamas' military wing said on Tuesday that Israel would be made to release Palestinian prisoners as part of a future deal, during a speech commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Gilad Shalit deal. (Ma'an)

Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip in both directions to permit the crossing of humanitarian cases just a few days following the crossing's opening on Saturday. (Ma'an)

Pres. Hollande said on Wednesday he would do everything possible to try to extend a ceasefire in eastern Aleppo when he discusses Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin this evening. (Reuters)

Two months after driving Islamic State from this Syrian border town, the young rebel fighters patrolling its streets nurse an ambition beyond the aims of their Turkish backers: to break the siege of Aleppo. (Reuters)

Russian warships off the coast of Norway are carrying fighter bombers that are likely to reinforce a final assault on the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo in two weeks, a senior NATO diplomat said on Wednesday, citing Western intelligence. (Reuters)

U.N.-mediated truce to the war in Yemen went into effect a minute before midnight on Wednesday, hours after Saudi-led air strikes hit military bases in the capital Sanaa and rival militias battled near the border with the kingdom. (Reuters)

Egypt's highest court on Wednesday quashed death sentences imposed on 14 Islamists over an attack on a police station in protest at the military's overthrow in 2013 of then-President Mohamed Mursi, the state news agency MENA said. (Reuters)


Marian Houk says Dr. Mustafa Barghouti wants to see agreement between Fatah and Hamas and local elections held in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. (Al-Monitor)

Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu prefers to ignore the fact that from a diplomatic-international standpoint, the Jewish holy sites in the Old City are under occupation. (Al-Monitor)

Ahmad Abu Amer says the Ministry of Local Governance has suggested the formation of local elections courts to prevent the Courts of First Instance from ruling on cases related to local elections. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar says human rights nongovernmental organizations are confronted by an increasingly difficult battle over Israeli public opinion, which often considers them illegitimate or hostile as they criticize the elected government. (Al-Monitor)

Amira Hass says even if 100,000 Gazans receive exit permits, the Strip would remain a huge prison. (Ha'aretz)

Steven Cohen says an 'out-of-touch' rightist Israeli government further embedding the settlements and disdaining non-Orthodox Judaism? According to Pew, they faithfully reflect the will of the people. (Ha'aretz)

Michael Young says Michel Aoun may soon be endorsed as Lebanon's president – but there is one serious obstacle in his path. (The National)

ATFP News Roundup October 19, 2016


The executive board of the United Nations cultural agency voted to adopt a controversialresolution that denies a Jewish connection to the Old City of Jerusalem. (JTA/Ma'an/Times of Israel)

Mexico has fired its ambassador to UNESCO, Andre Roemer, who is Jewish, for protesting against his country’s decision to vote for a resolution denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem. (JTA)

Asked about punitive action initiated by Israeli PM Netanyahu against B’Tselem, a human rights watchdog, the Obama administration said it is “troubled by instances anywhere in the world” where civil society is threatened. (JTA/Ma'an)

The European Union sent a public message of support to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem Tuesday, amid anger in Israel over a speech by the organization’s director to the United Nations Security Council criticizing Israeli settlement policy last week. (Times of Israel)

The “overwhelming majority” of Palestinian minors held in Israel’s Megiddo and Ofer prisons have been tortured during their detention and interrogation, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said Tuesday. (Ma'an)

The Egyptian army reportedly killed 19 gunmen believed to be affiliated to the Sinai Province group, after airstrikes hit more than 30 of the group’s bunkers and hideouts on Mondayafternoon. (Ma'an)

The Syrian army and its allies see a risk that Islamic State will regroup in eastern Syria as it is forced from the Iraqi city of Mosul in a U.S.-backed operation, posing new risks for President Bashar al-Assad. (Reuters)

The U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a special session on the worsening situation in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo on Friday after a formal request from Britain, a United Nations statement said. (Reuters)

The United Nations said that Russia's plan for a ceasefire will not mean any supplies get into besieged eastern Aleppo because Russia, Syria and other groups fighting in the city have not yet given guarantees of safety for aid workers. (Reuters)

The International Committee of the Red Cross appealed to all sides including Islamic State on Tuesday to show humanity on the battlefield and spare civilians in the Iraqi city of Mosul as government forces close in to re-take the city of 1.5 million. (Reuters)

After losses in Syria and Iraq, ISIS moves the goal posts. (New York Times)

Yemen's Houthi-run administration welcomed a 72-hour ceasefire starting on Wednesday intended to allow aid to reach areas cut off by months of fighting and in dire humanitarian need. (Reuters)

Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose public flogging in the kingdom in 2015 generated global outcry, now risks a new round of lashes, a co-founder of a Canadian foundation advocating for his release said on Tuesday. (Reuters)


The New York Times looks at why Mosul is critical in the battle against ISIS. (New York Times)

Joyce Karam says the real hard battle for Mosul will be in charting its political course after the military operations. (Al Arabiya)

Abdul Rahman Al Rashed says the continuity of the war in Yemen only suits the strategy of Iran...but it does not suit Oman. (Al Arabiya)

ATFP News Roundup October 18, 2016


Victims of an Israeli raid that killed 10 people in 2010 on an aid flotilla fear a Turkish court is set to halt a case brought by them because of a deal to restore ties between Israel and Turkey, a lawyer representing the victims said on Monday. (Reuters)

A fierce exchange between the government and the human rights group B’Tselem has touched on arguments over patriotism and the character of Israel. (New York Times)

Israeli PM Netanyahu said he will act to amend the country’s national service law so that young Israelis will no longer be able to serve at B’Tselem. (JTA/Ha'aretz)

The governing body of international soccer, FIFA, did not reach a decision on preventing Israeli teams from playing in West Bank settlements. (JTA)

Greece’s ruling left-wing Syriza party called for the Greek government to recognize the state of Palestine at the party’s second congress held in Athens, after months of delay in implementing a Greek parliament decision to recognize Palestine. (Ma'an)

The Supreme Military Court in the Gaza Strip sentenced a 54-year-old man to death by hanging on Monday after he was accused of collaborating with Israel, according to a statement released by the court. (Ma'an)

UNESCO chief Irina Bokova has received “death threats” after expressing reservations about an Arab-backed resolution denying Israel’s history in Jerusalem, Israel’s ambassador to the UN agency said on Monday. (Times of Israel)

The director of operations for UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, Bo Schack, warned on Monday of what he described as increasing desperation, frustration, and the absence of opportunities in the besieged coastal enclave. (Ma'an)

Defying political pressure, Israeli Arab rapper to perform at festival, despite culture minister's opposition. (Ha'aretz)

At least five Palestinian minors have been imprisoned by Israel without being charged in recent months, for Facebook posts that Israeli authorities alleged amounted to “incitement” to commit violence. (Ma'an)

The European Union on Monday condemned Russia's air campaign in Syria, saying it may be guilty of war crimes, and it vowed to impose more sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad's government. (Reuters)

Fourteen members of one family were killed in an air strike in rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Monday, emergency service workers said, as the Syrian government pursued its drive to capture opposition-held areas of the city. (Reuters)

Russian and Syrian forces will pause their offensive on Oct. 20 to allow civilians and rebels to leave the city and to provide humanitarian relief, a Russian military official said. (New York Times)

Iraqi government forces launched a U.S.-backed offensive on Monday to drive Islamic State from the northern city of Mosul, a high-stakes battle to retake the militants' last major stronghold in the country. (Reuters)

Shi'ite irregulars will help storm a smaller city in northern Iraq while government troops launch their upcoming offensive against Islamic State's biggest stronghold Mosul, raising fears among Iraqi officials and aid workers of sectarian retribution. (Reuters)

72-hour ceasefire in Yemen is due to start on Wednesday night, the U.N. envoy for Yemen said on Monday after he received commitments from all of the country's warring factions. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia is prepared to agree to a ceasefire in Yemen if the Iran-allied Houthis agree, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Monday, adding that he was skeptical about efforts for peace after previous ceasefire attempts had failed. (Reuters)

The Pentagon declined to say on Monday whether the USS Mason destroyer was targeted by multiple inbound missiles fired from Yemen on Saturday, as initially thought, saying a review was under way to determine what happened. (Reuters)


Hagai El-Ad explains why he spoke against the occupation at the UN. (Ha'aretz)

Shmuel Rosner says with the United States abdicating its leadership role, Netanyahu has to play along with Russian plans for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. (New York Times)

Uri Savir says both Israelis and Palestinians object to a diplomatic move by US President Barack Obama: the Palestinians object to a presidential speech, while the Israelis object to a UN General Assembly resolution. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar says the arrest of a Palestinian government employee critical of President Mahmoud Abbas is indicative of the constraints on freedom of expression that Palestinian journalists face. (Al-Monitor)

Adnan Abu Amer says Jordan is boosting its strategic ties with Israel based on their mutual economic interests, while Palestinians sound the alarm against normalization of relations with their enemy. (Al-Monitor)

Josh Rogin says the Obama administration is debating the wisdom of rushing to retake Raqqa. (Washington Post)

Michael Knights says Mosul is going to embrace the United States as liberator. (Fpreign Policy)

Faisal Al Yafai says taking Mosul back from ISIL will be hard, but winning the peace will be harder still. (The National)

Hassan Hassan explains why the fight against ISIL in Iraq is critical for the region. (The National)


Andrew Bowen says Yemen’s challenges are not purely a problem from the Kingdom, but for both the broader region and the US. The commentary that Washington faces a moral dilemma in Yemen for supporting the GCC intervention is a distraction from the real issues. (Al Arabiya)

ATFP News Roundup October 14, 2016


Israeli President Rivlin hosts a quiet meeting of Muslim and Jewish leaders. (New York Times)

The Palestinian Authority welcomes the passing of a UNESCO resolution that sharply criticizes Israeli policies. (Ma'an\Times of Israel)

The United States, Israeli officials and Jewish groups reacted with outrage to a preliminary vote by the United Nations cultural agency that denies a Jewish connection to the Old City of Jerusalem. (JTA\Ha'aretz)

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel would suspend its cooperation with UNESCO, because of the UN agency’s decision to ignore Jewish ties to holy sites in Jerusalem. (JTA\Times of Israel)

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov expressed concerns over the situation in Gaza, and urged Israel to understand that its policies on the besieged enclave only “escalates violence.” (Ma'an)

Anti-occupation groups Americans for Peace Now, B'Tselem to address UN Security Council session on settlements. (Ha'aretz)

DIY submachine guns are popping up across the West Bank. (Washington Post)

The number of terrorist attacks perpetrated in Israel dropped in August to 93 — the lowest monthly tally on record since March 2015 and the first dip since then below the 100-incident mark. (JTA)

Israeli soldiers raided a “mourning tent” dedicated to Misbah Abu Sbeih, who was killed by Israeli forces Sunday after carrying out a deadly shooting attack in occupied East Jerusalem, in the the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. (Ma'an)

Egyptian authorities decided to open the Rafah crossing on both sides this week on Saturdayand Sunday. (Ma'an)

Islamic State has crushed a rebellion plot in Mosul, led by one of the group's commanders who aimed to switch sides and help deliver the caliphate's Iraqi capital to government forces, residents and Iraqi security officials said. (Reuters)

Forces trained by the Turkish military at the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq will take part in the planned operation to drive Islamic State out of the city of Mosul, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Friday. (Reuters)

Syria's Pres. Assad said that the Syrian army's capture of Aleppo, which has come under renewed bombardment in an effort to seize its rebel-held sector, would be "a very important springboard" to pushing "terrorists" back to Turkey. (Reuters)

At least 20 people, mostly Syrian rebel fighters, were killed after a car bomb exploded on Thursday near a checkpoint close to the Bab al Salama crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in northern Syria, two witnesses said. (Reuters)

In Aleppo, a drone video reveals a destruction so complete that it obliterates even a sense of time. (New York Times)

Yemen sees U.S. strikes as evidence of hidden hand behind Saudi air war. (New York Times)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi denied on Thursday Ethiopian accusations that his country was supporting the opposition after a wave of violent protests that left hundreds dead. (Reuters)

Turkey could hold a referendum on changing the constitution and introducing a presidential system before the spring, its justice minister said on Friday, days after the government revived plans that would hand incumbent Tayyip Erdogan greater powers. (Reuters)


Akiva Eldar says new data shows that the settlements in the West Bank are not an irreversible situation, and that most of the population growth in settlements is due to births — not immigration of Israelis into the settlements. (Al-Monitor)

Ahmad Melhem says Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' attendance at the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres has angered the Palestinian public and political factions, increasing the chance of violence in the streets. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar says when the wave of Palestinian violence broke out, most of the assailants were youngsters who believed that their acts would bring closer Palestinian statehood; but recent attacks seem motivated largely by religious beliefs. (Al-Monitor)

Raphael Ahren says outrageous as it may be, UNESCO’s Jerusalem vote has a silver lining. (Times of Israel)

Shlomo Sand says all those who don’t understand why it was so difficult for the Palestinian-Israelis’ political representatives to show their final respects to Shimon Peres, should recall Arafat’s funeral and the 'respect' shown him by the Israelis. (Ha'aretz)

Abdul Rahman Al Rashed says France is playing a key role in the Syrian conflict at a time when most countries have preferred to avoid confrontation. (The National)

Anna Lekas Miller writes that the Left can’t afford to ignore the facts on the ground in Aleppo. (The National)

Michael T. Klare says “take the oil” isn’t just an applause line — it’s a policy that has been discussed in Washington for decades. (Foreign Policy)

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