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ATFP News Roundup December 6, 2017


President Donald Trump will announce on Wednesday that the United States recognizesJerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy there, breaking with longtime U.S. policy and potentially threatening regional stability. (Reuters/Washington Post/AP/New York Times/The National/Foreign Policy/Times of Israel)

Hours before US Pres. Trump is expected to announce his decision to move the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the Israeli-occupied city as the official capital of Israel, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, in a last-ditch-effort, is reportedly pleading to the United Nations to stop the move. (Ma'an)

Palestinians seethed with anger and a sense of betrayal over U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize the disputed city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (Reuters)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Palestinian Authority Pres. Abbas agreed Wednesday that Palestinians had to stage a protest against an expected announcement the same evening by President Donald Trump stating that the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (Ynet/Times of Israel)

Pres. Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday could have deep repercussions across the region. (AP)

Jewish groups in the U.S. expressed deep concern and dismay following Tuesday evening's announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump that he intends to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (Ha'aretz)

The patriarchs and heads of all the churches in Jerusalem on Wednesday delivered  a last-minute plea to US President Donald Trump, urging him not to change US policy toward Jerusalem for fear this could cause “irreparable harm.” (Times of Israel)

Pope Francis called on Wednesday for the status quo of Jerusalem to be respected and for “wisdom and prudence” to prevail to avoid further conflict, hours before the expected announcement that the United States is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (AP)

British PM Theresa May said she intends to speak to U.S. President Donald Trump about the status of Jerusalem, which she said should be determined as part of a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. (Ha'aretz)

U.S. plans to move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem are a sign of incompetence and failure, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

China expressed concern on Wednesday about U.S. President Donald Trump's reported intention to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate the U.S. Embassy to the ancient city, saying it could spark new hostility. (Reuters)

Palestinians protest U.S. embassy plan, as Israelis brace for violence. (New York Times)

The New York Times looks at why Jerusalem is contested. (New York Times)

As President Donald Trump prepares to address the issue of Jerusalem in a White House speech, the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem instructed U.S. officials not to travel to the Old City or West Bank in the face of reports that there will be protests. (JTA)

Sec. Tillerson touts ‘good opportunity’ for Mideast peace despite criticism of U.S. policy shift on Jerusalem. (Washington Post/Times of Israel)

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot met with top military officers in the West Bank on Wednesdaymorning amid calls by groups for violence in the region over an expected American announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (Times of Israel)

US Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday he would visit Bethlehem despite the tense relations between Palestine and the United States. (PNN)

Israeli army forces have temporarily closed off the entrance to a Jenin-area town in the northern occupied West Bank, allegedly in response to shots fired at an Israeli settler bus near the village. (Ma'an)

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would reduce U.S. funding for the Palestinians unless their official bodies stop subsidizing families of killers of Israelis. (JTA)

France accused the Syrian government on Wednesday of obstructing U.N.-led peace talks with its refusal to return to Geneva and called on Russia not to shirk its responsibilities to get Damascus to the negotiating table. (Reuters)

Talks on ending the six-year war in Syria resumed on Wednesday with no sign of President Bashar al-Assad's delegation returning to the negotiations in Geneva after they walked out last week. (Reuters)


The New York Times says moving the American embassy to Jerusalem is almost certain to anger the Palestinians and most Arab nations. (New York Times)

Emma Green says President Trump’s announcement on the status of the holy city may be perceived as a threat to sacred space—and could spark a crisis across the Middle East. (The Atlantic)

H.A. Hellyer explains why Pres. Trump's decision on Jerusalem changes very little at all. (The National)

Dana H. Allin and Steven N. Simon say the most basic requirement in the Holy Land is to do no harm, thus following in the tradition of past presidents. (Foreign Affairs)

Nir Hasson says over 300,000 Palestinians currently live in Jerusalem without citizenship rights, a situation the U.S. move could inadvertently force Israel to address. (Ha'aretz)

Ha'aretz says instead of unilateral declarations favoring one side, the goal must be  West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. (Ha'aretz)

Avi Issacharoff says Pres. Abbas is leading the charge against American plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the embassy; if violence ensues, it will have stemmed from the top. (Times of Israel)

David Greene explains why the world doesn’t recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (Ha'aretz)

Shmuel Rosner says of course Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. (New York Times)

Eliora Katz makes the Zionist case against an Embassy move. (Wall Street Journal)

Bradley Burston says the biggest loser in Pres. Trump's high-stakes Jerusalem embassy decision is PM Netanyahu. (Ha'aretz) 

Akiva Eldar asks if settlers could stay in a future Palestinian state. (Al-Monitor)

Thomas Friedman says obsession with Iran is driving the Mideast and the U.S.c crazy. (New York Times)


Where Do We Go 50 Years After 1967?

Dr. Ziad Asali, president and founder of the American Task Force on Palestine, provides his perspective on the monumental Six-Day War, and discusses the challenges of establishing a Palestinian state.

Click here to read Dr. Asali's latest analysis in the Jerusalem Post and Arab News. Also, click here to watch Ziad's appearance on AEI Viewpoint with Danielle Pletka.

ATFP News Roundup November 2, 2016


Italian President Sergio Mattarella expressed on Tuesday his appreciation for the link between his country and Palestine during his first visit to the occupied Palestinian territory. (Ma'an/Times of Israel)

mountainous Palestinian community in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Al Jab'a differs in many ways from surrounding Israeli settlements but it shares one worry with its neighbors – a shortage of water. (Reuters)

PM Netanyahu says heads "most sympathetic government toward settlements" ever. (Ha'aretz)

Palestinian Authority security forces reportedly attempted to prevent an attack by one of its officers on Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint. (Ma'an/Times of Israel)

Israeli Nature and Parks Authority forces demolished several graves inside a Palestinian cemetery in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, according to local sources.  (Ma'an)

Clashes broke out between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces on Tuesday afternoon near al-Quds University in the Jerusalem district town of Abu Dis. (Ma'an)

The Palestinian soccer chief said Tuesday he would appeal to the world’s top sports court if the soccer world body FIFA fails to punish Israel over clubs based in the West Bank. (Times of Israel)

Israeli media reported that Israeli security forces “thwarted a potential stabbing attack,” after they stopped a Palestinian woman who allegedly had knives in her possession near the Ibrahimi mosque in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron. (Ma'an)

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday a Western failure to rein in violent Islamists in Syria had indefinitely delayed the resumption of peace talks. (Reuters)

All sides fighting over the Syrian city of Aleppo may be committing war crimes through indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas, U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Meeting reporters, Mr. Assad radiated confidence that he was firmly in control of his country, declaring that he planned to remain president until his term ends in 2021. (New York Times)

After Islamic State conquered villages in northern Iraq, it spelled out in minute detail the rules of its self-proclaimed caliphate, from beard length to alms to guidelines for taking women as sex slaves. (Reuters)

Islamic State militants killed 40 former members of the Iraqi Security Forces near Mosul on Saturday and threw their bodies in the Tigris river, U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said on Tuesday, citing reports from the field. (Reuters)

Iraqi forces battled Islamic State fighters on the eastern edge of Mosul on Tuesday as the two-week campaign to recapture the jihadists' last main bastion in Iraq entered a new phase of urban warfare. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia has injected more than $25 billion into the faltering Egyptian economy in two years, but ties between the two most influential Sunni nations are fraying. (New York Times)


Akiva Eldar says Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's "carrot-and-stick" plan promises Palestinians big punishments alongside negligible benefits, very much like the policies of the European colonial powers in Africa. (

Mohammed Othman says Hamas has released Zaki al-Sakani from prison, raising questions of whether it was part of a deal between Hamas and Mohammed Dahlan, with whom it just restored relations. (Al-Monitor)

The Washington Post says President Erdogan tramples free expression in a colossal purge. (Washington Post)

Antoun Issa says Lebanon has a new president, not that it matters. (Foreign Policy)

Abdul Rahman Al Rashed says during the years ahead, whether the war continues or peace prevails, it will not be easy for Houthis to impose themselves as a dominating power. (Al Arabiya)

ATFP News Roundup November 3, 2016


Israeli planning authorities issued building permits for 181 new homes in East Jerusalem Wednesday, drawing a harsh rebuke from the United States. (Times of Israel/Ha'aretz)

The former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan is the focus of intrigue as Arab leaders seek change over the objections of Mahmoud Abbas, who has no designated successor. (New York Times)

One of the most divisive trials in Israeli history is taking place in a cramped military courtroom in a peeling mansion in the poor Arab section of Jaffa. (Washington Post)

An Israeli official accused Hamas of “exploiting” Palestinian residents of Gaza traveling to Israel to make them cooperate with the movement, and threatened to reduce access to aid in the blockaded coastal enclave if such alleged pressures continued. (Ma'an)

The Palestinian teenager who murdered Dafna Meir, a mother of six, in her West Bank home was sentenced to life in prison. (JTA)

Israeli bulldozers raided and demolished the unrecognized Palestinian Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev desert for the 105th time on Wednesday morning. (Ma'an)

Two Palestinian teachers from the occupied West Bank district of Nablus qualified to participate in the Global Teacher Prize organized by the Varkey Foundation. (Ma'an)

A senior reporter who spoke to PM Netanyahu the day of the Israeli election says Netanyahu blamed global conspiracy to oust him using U.S. super-software that locates voters. (Ha'aretz)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday accused Syrian government troops of committing "crimes against humanity" that could not be overlooked. (Reuters)

Already accused of war crimes in Syria, the Kremlin is anxious to avoid a blood bath and humanitarian crisis while ousting antigovernment forces. (New York Times

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces moved closer on Wednesday to a town south of Mosul where aid groups and regional officials say Islamic State has executed dozens of prisoners. (Reuters)

Whenever members of Islamic State's Mosul vice squad find a woman without gloves, they pull out a pair of pliers. (Reuters)

Residents celebrated their regained freedoms after the Iraqi forces’ victory over the Islamic State in their area, and the military worked to maintain order. (New York Times)

Aid agencies said on Wednesday families who have fled Mosul and surrounding towns were starting to reach displacement camps away from the fighting, as Iraqi forces press on with an offensive to retake Islamic State's last major stronghold in Iraq. (Reuters)

Almost half the population of the Middle East and North Africa would stay away from casting ballots for either Clinton or Trump if given the right to vote in next week’s US presidential election, an opinion poll revealed Thursday. (Times of Israel)


Ahmad Melhem says news was leaked to the media about the arrest of cell members who were plotting to assassinate three Fatah leaders, although the Palestinian security services will not reveal details on the case before the investigation process is complete. (Al-Monitor)

Steven Heydemann says President Obama shouldn’t leave his successor with no options to move ahead with diplomacy in Syria. (New York Times)

Emile Simpson says Russia has quietly been building power throughout the Middle East. (Foreign Policy)

Michael Young says the election of Michel Aoun as Lebanon’s president represents a new phase in Lebanese politics. (The National)

Rima Maktabi says the Lebanese people want to see the implementation of modern and new laws, and then electing a parliament that reflects their demands, diversity, and opinion. (Al Arabiya)

The New York Times says as more people are arrested and media outlets closed, other countries need to speak the bitter truth to Turkey. (New York Times)

ATFP News Roundup November 1, 2016


The Israeli government requested a delay in the evacuation of a West Bank settlement outpost in order to better prepare new housing for its residents. (JTA)

Fatah leader Mohammad Dahlan severely criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA) while dismissing the likelihood of a reconciliation with his former party, in an exclusive interview with Ma’an in Cairo. (Ma'an/Ha'aretz)

Members of Israel’s ruling government coalition boycotted speeches by lawmakers of the Arab Joint List at the opening of the Knesset’s winter session, and the Arab lawmakers responded by walking out on the address by PM Netanyahu. (JTA)

A Palestinian assailant shot and wounded three Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank on Monday and was killed by troops returning fire, the Israeli army said. (Reuters/JTA/Ma'an)

Israel is trying to thwart an attempt by the Palestinian Authority to join the international police force, Interpol, fearing that it would leak sensitive information to Palestinian terror groups, Israeli officials said. (Times of Israel)

Nine Palestinian prisoners continued their open hunger strikes in Israeli prisons on Monday, according to Sawt al-Asra (Voice of the Prisoners) radio. (Ma'an)

Israel’s Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) to the Gaza Strip announced on Sundaythat Israel would be increasing its water supplies to the besieged coastal enclave. (Ma'an)

The European Union’s foreign policy chief recently affirmed the right of EU citizens to boycott Israel, citing freedom of expression and rebuffing claims by Jerusalem that such measures amount to banned anti-Semitic activity. (Times of Israel)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew visited Israel for talks on the Iran nuclear deal and other issues. (JTA)

Syria's army said on Monday the Nusra Front and what the army called other terrorist groups had killed 84 people, mostly women and children, in Aleppo during the past three days, in a bombardment that included chemical weapons and rocket fire. (Reuters)

Iraqi forces prepare to break into Mosul in battle against Islamic State. (Washington Post)

Turkey wants the operation on Raqqa, Islamic State's main stronghold in Syria, to start after Mosul and Euphrates Shield operations have been completed, Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday. (Reuters)

The leader of Iraq's largest Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia expressed hope on Monday that the battle of Mosul would not be as protracted and devastating as in the one that allied Shi'ite militias are fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo. (Reuters)

An elderly Christian widow who survived two years of Islamic State rule over her northern Iraqi town said the jihadists threatened to kill her, forced her to spit on a crucifix and made her stamp on an image of the Virgin Mary. (Reuters)

The ex-general and polarizing Christian leader takes office with the support of the militant group Hezbollah, but Lebanon’s underlying turmoil is unresolved. (New York Times)


Adnan Abu Amer says Hamas and Egypt appear to be adjusting their attitudes toward each other, and Fatah’s dismissed leader Mohammed Dahlan probably has a role in this regard. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar says Israel's failure to publicize a decision that benefits the Palestinians shows just how preoccupied Israel’s right-wing government is about a settler backlash. (Al-Monitor)

Ben Caspit says senior IDF officers say that Israel should not have purchased three new submarines from Germany, but rather invested the money in air and ground defense. (Al-Monitor)

Mona Alami finds cause for concern in the increasing assertiveness of Hizbollah in Lebanon and Popular Mobilisation Units in Iraq – both proxies of Iran. (The National)

Evan McMullin looks at how to turn things around in Syria. (Foreign Policy)

Seth Jones asks if the Islamic State will lose Mosul and still win. (Foreign Policy)

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