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ATFP News Roundup October 24, 2016


Israeli authorities ordered settlers to stop construction on a new illegal outpost in the Jordan valley district of Tubas in the northern occupied West Bank, according Israeli authorities. (Ma'an/Ha'aretz)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Turkey on Sunday for a three-day diplomatic visit. (Ma'an)

Israeli military police opened an internal probe on Friday into the killing of 15-year-old Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Thursday in Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank, after soldiers claimed he was among a group of youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. (Ma'an)

Spokesperson for the Jerusalem office of the Fatah movement Raafat Elayyan was removed from office on Saturday, soon after Fatah discharged one of its senior leaders and lawmakers, Jihad Tummaleh. (Ma'an/Times of Israel)

right-wing member of the Knesset called for revoking the citizenship of Hagai El-Ad, the director of Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, in response to El-Ad’s recent criticism of Israel's illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory before the United Nations Security Council. (Ma'an)

nonpartisan Palestinian group known as Patriots to End Disagreement and Restore National Unity organized rallies in Gaza City and Ramallah on Saturday, to urge political rivals Fatah and Hamas to put an end to their disputes. (Ma'an)

Four Palestinians arrested late last week for attending a sukkot holiday event in a West Bank settlement were freed on Sunday evening, Channel 2 News reported. (Times of Israel)

Jubbet adh Dhib, in the Israeli-controlled West Bank, has been waiting for electricity for nearly three decades. (Washington Post)

The head of the United Nations cultural agency continued to distance herself from resolutions that deny Jewish ties to Jerusalem holy sites, as another agency committee prepares to vote on a similar measure. (JTA)

The Israeli minister of culture and sports wants nothing less than an overthrow of the nation’s elite. (New York Times)

The White House is proposing the federal government add an ethnic category for people of Middle Eastern and North African descent to the US census form. (Times of Israel)

The battle for control of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo intensified on Sunday with air strikes, ground offensives and shelling, the morning after a resurgence in fighting ended a Russian ceasefire, a monitor and rebel groups said. (Reuters)

Kurdish fighters said they had taken the town of Bashiqa near Mosul from Islamic State on Sunday as coalition forces pressed their offensive against the jihadists' last stronghold in Iraq.  (Reuters)

New details from a U.S. military investigation into Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Finan's death in Iraq are illustrating the twin risks of a bomb-ridden battlefield and shifting front lines in the campaign to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State. (Reuters)

Dozens of extra analysts have been dispatched to Iraq to pore over data that could offer insight into the group’s operations and future terror plots. (New York Times)

An inquiry barred the owners of a Russian airline from United Nations business, but they won a World Food Program contract to airdrop food aid in Syria. (New York Times)

The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said on Sunday the door to electing a president was "wide open" and his members of parliament would vote for ally Michel Aoun at a parliamentary session at the end of October. (Reuters)

cartoon which appeared on social media shows a drowning Egyptian, only his hand protruding from the depths, waving for help. The next strips show President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi diving in, taking the drowning man's watch and turning away. (Reuters)

Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition attacked targets in Sanaa at dawn on Sunday, hours after a three-day truce in Yemen's war expired, residents in the capital said. (Reuters)


Lara Friedman says her UN Speech reflected her love for Israel but the truth about settlements. (Ha'aretz)

Uri Savir says Palestinians are following up on the possibility of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak returning to politics, while Israelis are following up on moves by exiled former Palestinian Security Chief Gen. Mohammed Dahlan. (Al-Monitor)

Asmaa al-Ghoul says civil society institutions in Palestine, which are in charge of documenting violations and providing aid for development projects, have recently come under criticism for failing to rid the Palestinians from the oppressive Hamas and Fatah regimes. (Al-Monitor)

Mazal Mualem says many Israeli politicians chose to ignore the March of Hope for fear of being branded "leftist," although participants spanned the spectrum. (Al-Monitor)

Zeruya Shalev says it looked like a mirage in the heart of the boiling desert, but the Israeli and Palestinian women who came together to wage peace are reclaiming the right to hope. (Ynet)

Adnan Abu Amer says Palestinians feel that Arab official circles are neglecting their cause, as the Israeli narrative is increasingly promoted in schoolbooks. (Al-Monitor)

Mohammed Othman says the Palestinian Cultural Palace, a cultural center created by a youth group in the Gaza Strip and aimed to preserve the cultural heritage of the Palestinian people, may not be able to flourish in light of the lack of government financial support. (Al-Monitor)

John Allen and Charles Lister says the U.S. must bring Syria’s Assad and his backers to account now. (Washington Post)

Omar Shaaban explains life under siege in Syria. (Washington Post)

Hassan Hassan looks at the challenges faced by the forces and the US in Mosul. (The National)

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)

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