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  • Three generations after the Nakba, still struggling to define home

    For Madlaine Ahmad, born and raised in Doha to Palestinian parents with Jordanian citizenship, the answer to 'where are you from?' is never simple, and always seems to be wrong. By Madlaine Ahmad I changed my Facebook profile picture the other day. It was a photo of a fair woman covered in gold and henna. It would have been clear to anyone from bilad al-sham (the Levant) that she was from the Gulf region, where women dress up a certain way. “How beautiful,” one person remarked. The comment that followed, by a Palestinian friend, surprised me: “Women are beautiful, but…

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  • Why Israel is so worried about Qatari outreach to American Jews

    Qatar has been focusing on prominent American Jewish leaders as the isolated Gulf state seeks to repair its image. Why American Jews? It's about Saudi Arabia. By Mitchell Plitnick On January 31, the Israeli embassy in the United States stated that Israel did not approve of several right wing, pro-Israel American Jewish leaders meeting with senior officials, including the emir, of Qatar. “We oppose this outreach effort in the Jewish and pro-Israel community,” said embassy spokesman Itai Bar Dov. It was an unusual, and in some ways bizarre, statement. What was Israel so worried about? [tmwinpost] “There is nothing wrong with analysts…

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  • Palestinian reconciliation could work this time. Israel must support it

    The current Palestinian reconciliation agreement looks like it could actually hold, largely due to regional and internal changes over the past few years. What does this bode for the peace process? A former minister in the Palestinian government explains. By Ashraf al-Ajrami This is not the first time the two large Palestinian political movements, Fatah and Hamas, have come to a reconciliation agreement. There is a great deal of skepticism about whether it will succeed, particularly following the failure of previous reconciliation agreements. However, many feel that this time the two parties are serious, and success is possible. [tmwinpost] This is based…

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  • As Mideast borders open, Israel is more isolated than ever

    Over the past decade, Middle Eastern countries have viewed their borders as a physical obstacle. The recent warming of relations between Arab states has led to increase in trade, leaving Israel more regionally isolated than ever before. By Moran Zaga Over the last month, border crossings have opened along both the Jordan-Iraq and Iraq-Saudi Arabia borders, while the border crossing between Jordan and Syria is slated to open soon. Even the crossing between Lebanon and Syria is now accessible, even making it to the news recently after Bashar al-Assad paid a visit to the area for Eid al-Adha prayers, after kicking…

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  • The Trump effect hits Gaza

    No, Trump did not create the rift between the PA and Hamas. But he has bought into the Israeli narrative, thus creating an environment that encourages more aggressive steps by stronger parties. The most dangerous part? Trump surely has no idea he did any of this. By Mitchell Plitnick The effects of Donald Trump’s trip last month to the Middle East continue to multiply. The focus, quite correctly has been on the breach between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. But the effects of the Saudis’ wooing of Trump are felt throughout the region. [tmwinpost] Flattering the president of the United States…

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  • What's the story with the siege on Doha?

    It is very difficult to accept at face value this newfound determination to defeat terrorism by the Gulf states by humiliating a smaller neighbor whose differences consist primarily of alternative choices of distasteful proxies. By Gary Sick There are several things that I find confounding about the current conflict within the GCC: First, as a member of the US policy team that first applied sanctions against Iran when our diplomats were being held hostage in Tehran, we drew the line at food and medicine. That has remained true in the succeeding 37 years. Despite all the onerous sanctions that the…

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  • 129 Palestinians, 3 Israeli soldiers killed; U.S. approves Israeli request for ammunition

    Wednesday saw a particularly deadly day of violence in the Gaza Strip, while diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire continued with urgency.  According to officials at the Palestinian Health Ministry, 129 people were killed and more than 200 wounded in Gaza throughout Wednesday. Israel's Operation Protective Edge has killed a total of 1,400 Palestinians and wounded more than 7,500. The high death toll comes after a bloody day on Tuesday, which saw more than 120 people killed by Israeli airstrikes in the Strip. The Israeli army announced that three of its soldiers were killed on Wednesday afternoon, pushing the military…

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  • Why did Israel reject Kerry's ceasefire proposal?

    Is Israel willing to prolong the fighting and to intensify the killing and bereavement on both sides just so that its ally in Cairo gets the credit, rather than the Hamas-allied Turkey and Qatar?  By Elizabeth Tsurkov There is hardly any difference between the draft agreement presented by Kerry and the Egyptian proposal, apart from the question of who will be its sponsor: Cairo, or Turkey and Qatar? On Sunday morning, Haaretz's excellent diplomatic correspondent, Barak Ravid, published a commentary on the new draft proposed by the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry: The draft Kerry passed to Israel on Friday shocked the cabinet ministers…

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  • Honoring my friend: A tortured Bahraini journalist taking on the courts

    A female Bahraini officer has been acquitted by a court in Manama on charges of torturing a local journalist working for a French TV and radio station. As the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) notes, reporter Nazeeha Saeed claimed: ...during her 13-hour detention, al-Moussa and the other officers blindfolded her, beat her repeatedly with a hose, pulled her hair, slapped her in the face, dunked her head in a toilet, kicked her, and forced her to sign papers she was not allowed to read. The journalist, who was later examined by a doctor, submitted several medical reports to the court…

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  • As Palestinian frustration grows, young man considers armed struggle

    Hakem* believes that armed struggle and the strategic use of violence is the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He calls BDS 'silly' and says Hamas has gone soft. He calls Israel 'the entity' and says it must be dismantled. After that, Hakem adds, Jews are welcome to stay. The situation in the West Bank is increasingly hopeless. The cost of living is spiraling out of control. Steady work is hard to find. Israeli settlements keep growing. And with the West Bank carved up by the Oslo Accords and Gaza under blockade, a Palestinian state seems more out of…

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  • Marginalized groups that Qatari PR would rather you not see

    The American network CBS - via its flagship news magazine show, "60 Minutes" - gave the tiny peninsula Kingdom of Qatar a free ride in its report earlier this year exploring the small gulf nation. Correspondent Bob Simon, dubbed by the network itself as "the most honored journalist in international reporting," delivered a public relations coup to the Emir and his government (i.e. family) by failing to properly investigate life in the country of less than two million people (the majority of whom are foreign laborers). Simon was partially right.  Yes, for many - namely, the wealthy portion of the…

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  • Palestinian leaders reinforce Fatah-Hamas reconciliation in Qatar

    Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Meshaal sign agreement in Qatar on Palestinian reconciliation. Leaders of the two main Palestinian political parties, Fatah and Hamas, signed an agreement in Qatar on Monday, reinforcing efforts at reconciliation and reform. Reports from Qatar say that current Palestinian Authority President and Chairman of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas, will also be in charge of a new interim government as Prime Minister until upcoming elections usher in a democratically elected one. Mahmoud Abbas met with Hamas’ politburo chief Khaled Meshaal for the second day of talks in Qatar. According to the Palestinian Central Elections Commission's (CEC) Twitter…

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  • Israelis welcomed in Doha Forum in Qatar

    The last thing I would have expected in Qatar was to hear Hebrew as I walked through the corridors of the Doha Convention Center. The next scene was no less bizarre, in a country where few Israelis and Jews visit: Rabbis with kippahs on their heads. The Israeli and Jewish presence seemed acceptable and even natural at the Doha Forum, which is organized by the United Nations Alliance for Civilizations. Israelis are not only attending the conference, but also speaking. Israeli representatives from academia, civil society, human rights organizations and religious groups were all among those speaking at the conference.…

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